Health care bills to watch ahead of Florida legislative session

Florida legislators began pre-filing bills this week ahead of the 2022 legislative session, which will convene Jan. 11. Here is a roundup of health care bills in Florida to watch on COVID-19 restrictions, abortion, behavioral health, and more. 

 

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Abortion

HB 167 – Abortion: Similar to Texas’ recently-passed SB 8, this bill would prohibit physicians from performing abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected. It would also allow “civil cause of action” for violations of these restrictions. Rep. Webster Barnaby (R – Orange City) pre-filed the bill Wednesday morning. 

HB 6023 – Abortion Clinic Regulations: This bill, sponsored by former Planned Parenthood director Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D – Orlando), would remove certain restrictions for abortion procedures, such as a review of patient records from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), and a prohibition of spending funds or renewing contracts with abortion providers. The bill has been referred to the House Health and Human Services committee. It would take effect July 1, 2022. 

COVID-19

House Bill 75: Limiting COVID-19 Restrictions: Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R – Clermont), filed a bill that would prohibit COVID-19 restrictions at the state, county, and municipal levels. These include mask mandates, requiring proof of vaccination, and the ability for business to refuse service due to vaccination status.

HB 6009 – Vaccinations During Public Health Emergencies: Also filed by Rep. Sabatini, this bill would rescind the State Health Officer’s authority to impose a vaccine mandate under the declaration of a public health emergency. 

HB 117 – Communicable and Infectious Diseases: This bill clarifies that “impairment of health” due to COVID-19 for certain workers happened “in line of duty,” and that said workers are entitled to presumption. 

Health coverage 

HB 135 – Florida KidCare Program Eligibility: Rep. Nicholas X. Duran, ranking Democratic member of the House Health and Human Services Committee, co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Robin Bartleman (D – Weston) that would increase the income eligibility threshold for coverage under the Florida KidCare program. The bill also allows Florida KidCare to seek federal waivers or submit amendments to the state Medicaid plan. 

SB 184: Dental Therapy: This bill would allow Medicaid reimbursement for dental services provided in a certified mobile dental unit.

HB 129: Insurance Coverage for At-Home COVID-19 Tests: This bill would require health plans to provide full coverage for at-home COVID-19 test kits, regardless of prescription. These kits are purchased  over-the-counter and have Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Behavioral health

SB 282 – Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: This bill revises certain licensure restrictions for certified recovery peer-specialists (CRPS) for those in the process of substance use or mental illness recovery. Behavioral health specialists have advocated for CRPS ahead of the session, as they may have personal experience in the recovery process and can provide  encouragement and advice to current participants. 

Telehealth

HB 17 – Telehealth Practice Standards: Along with its Senate counterpart, this bill would revise restrictions on prescribing certain controlled substances via telehealth. This bill is now in the House Professions and Public Health Subcommittee.