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Health Care Costs Savings

March 24th, 2010 by flanews

Early estimates claim the new health care regulations will cost the state as much as a billion dollars by 2019. A bill allowing nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled drugs could lower the cost of health care by millions, but as Whitney Ray tells us, Florida lawmakers have ignored the legislation for more than 15 years.

Health care may now be the law of the land, but the debate hasnt stopped. In Florida, Rep. Scott Plakon wants to let voters decide if they want to be covered by the national plan. The opt out could be on the November ballot.

We dont want to be forced to buy any particular product. We think it is unconstitutional, we think its wrong, we think its anti-liberty, said Plakon.

Attorney General Bill McCollum is suing to stop the mandate on coverage.
While some elected officials are trying to block the new health care regulations, others are working on a bill that would lower the cost.

Hundreds of nurse practitioners rallied at the State Capitol for the right to prescribe controlled drugs. Melissa Bailey, a Tampa nurse, says often times she knows what her patients need, but has to track down a doctor to write every prescription.

If a patient Im seeing needs medicines I cant prescribe, attention deficit meds or pain control, they wait while I consult with one of the physicians I work with, his patient gets held up, my patient gets held up, said Bailey.

The changes would allow more than 13-thousand nurse practitioners to write all prescriptions and serve a million more patients every year. Senator Mike Bennett says the changes would also cut medical expenses by millions.

We are actually looking into the numbers right now, but I think potentially in the hundreds of millions of dollars, said Bennett.

Florida and Alabama are the only states where nurse practitioners arent allowed to write prescriptions for controlled drugs.

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