A handful of health care bills are heading to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis‘s desk that form the backbone of President Donald Trump’s health care agenda. The Trump Administration last year released a report entitled “Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition,” which outlined several recommendations states could enact to lower health care costs and reduce burdensome regulations.
House Bill 843 passed unanimously in the Florida House and Senate during session, which included a number of measures designed to increase competition in the health care field, including provisions that increase access to dental care in underserved areas, strengthen oversight of certain medical practices, and void certain non-compete agreements that stifle health care competition. That latter provision is directly derived from the Trump Administration report which recommends that states should:
“…scrutinize restrictive covenants such as non-compete clauses, particularly their impact on patient access to care… ”
The document goes on to say:
“By suppressing competition, these clauses may inflate healthcare prices, elevating patient and federal spending on healthcare goods and services.”
A number of states have already adopted similar language that ban or placed significant restrictions on non-compete agreements for physicians. The specific language in HB 843 doesn’t specifically attack non-compete agreements in general, but was crafted to foster health care competition only in areas where no competition currently exists. Under the language in the bill, companies that have a monopoly on any particular medical specialty would not be allowed to enforce non-compete contracts with physicians in that specialty. If competition already exists, then the non-compete agreements can be enforced.
With the provision in the bill, lawmakers sought to address an expected physician shortage over the next five years in Florida, when nearly 17 percent of experienced doctors in Florida are expected to retire.
This bill and a package of other health care priorities championed by Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva have won effusive praise by conservatives around the state.
“Policies that break up health care monopolies and improve patient choice should be celebrated,” said Skylar Zandar, State Director for Americans for Prosperity – Florida. “Burdensome non-compete contracts stifle competition and only protect the interests of a few at the expense of market freedom.”
Governor DeSantis could sign the bipartisan legislation ahead of a trade delegation trip to Israel planned for May 25th.