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House passes bill creating health ‘innovation’ commission

The measure (HB 961) passed in a 72-41 vote.

An 11-member commission would be created to try to move forward with alternative ways to deliver health care and pay for services under a bill that was approved Wednesday by the House.

The measure (HB 961) passed in a 72-41 vote, despite warnings from the state Agency for Health Care Administration that the bill would violate the state Constitution.

A Senate version (SB 1348) has not been considered with less than three weeks left in the annual legislative session.

The House bill would create an Innovation Commission within the Agency for Health Care Administration. The bill would give authority to the commission to grant exemptions to laws or rules, with certain conditions. The commission would be required to convene by Dec. 1, and its 11 members would include health-care industry representatives, health-care practitioners, and consumers. The governor, Senate president and House speaker would each appoint three members of the commission, with the governor appointing the chair. The AHCA secretary and the state surgeon general would serve as ex officio non-voting members of the commission.

AHCA staff this year prepared a four-page analysis of the bill and concluded that it would violate the Constitution because it “authorized a panel under the authority of the executive branch to approve an exemption from a statute.” The analysis also said the bill would run afoul of a state law that sets out a process for requesting waivers of administrative rules.

When asked about the AHCA analysis, bill sponsor Randy Fine said it was only an opinion and discounted the analysis.

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