It’s official: Senate panel agrees to introduce ‘Live Healthy’ proposal

Group of modern doctors standing as a team with arms crossed in hospital office. Physicians ready to examine and help patients. Medical help, insurance in health care, best desease treatment and medicine concept
'This is the most amazing piece of legislation I have seen in 22 years.'

A Senate panel agreed to introduce a pair of proposed committee bill (PCBs) that pump more than $800 million to bolster the state’s health care workforce, reduce regulations and bolster the use of technology with low-interest loans to licensed providers.

The Senate Health Policy Committee tagged on amendments to PCB 7016 and PCB 7018 before voting unanimously to introduce the measures for consideration during the 2024 Regular Session. Collectively, the bills are known as the Live Healthy proposal.

“This is my 22nd Session in the Florida Legislature and I have never seen a bill that has the dramatic changes and enhancements and the ability to really incentivize people to come to Florida. Health care practitioners have new ideas, innovative ways of doing health care in Florida, this is game-changing,” said Sen. Gayle Harrell, a Republican from Stuart and Chair of the Senate health care spending panel.

“This is the most amazing piece of legislation I have seen in 22 years. it also happens to be the largest piece of legislation — all 128 pages of it — that I have read in many, many years,” she added regarding PCB 7016.

Combined, the bills have roughly $874 million in appropriations.

Included in PCB 7016 is $571.2 million for Medicaid rate increases. The biggest chunk of change — $195.8 million — would help increase the rates for home and community-based providers. Another $152 million is targeted to improve maternal care in labor and delivery and statutory teaching hospitals that provide residencies in specialized tertiary care are in line for a $100 million rate bump.

Additionally, there is $70 million to expand graduate medical education (GME) programs: The proposal will increase residencies in the “Slots for Doctors Program.” Touted by the Florida Medical Association, the GME program allocates $100,000 annually for residency positions in an initial or established accredited residency program. All hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers are eligible for “Slots for Docs” funding.

PCB 7018, meanwhile, has a $75 million appropriation to fund what’s being called a Health Innovation Fund that would offer licensed health care providers access to low-interest loans. The program would be administered by the 15-member Health Care Innovation Council within the Department of Health. In all, $750 million would be spent on the innovation fund over a 10-year period.

Meanwhile, the committee approved three amendments to PCB 7016 allowing the state to participate in intrastate licensing compacts for physicians, physical therapists and audiologists/speech-language pathologists.

The panel also tagged two amendments onto PCB 7018 before voting unanimously to introduce the bill. One amendment modified membership on the council to two-year terms. The second amendment required the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to conduct a comprehensive economic analysis of the innovation fund and the low-interest loans approved.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has made championing increasing access to health care her top priority for the 2024 Session. She unveiled the proposed legislation to the media last week. The legislation increases access to free and charitable clinics, allowing people to earn up to $90,000 (300% of the federal poverty level). However, it does not expand Medicaid access to childless uninsured adults as allowable under the federal health care law commonly referred to as Obamacare.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • PeterH

    December 12, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    ……excluding senior citizens….over 1/3 of Florida’s legal residents live below the poverty level on some level of public assistance!

    • Ian

      December 13, 2023 at 8:16 pm

      Hmmm. If you exclude the people who have the most money, a large portion of the remainder won’t have much money.

      Who would have thunk it?

Comments are closed.


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