One of the best and most effective concepts for keeping health care costs low is about to be strangled to death in the Florida Senate by a small group of Republicans who are either in the pocket of, or being bamboozled by, a group of greedy doctors.  These doctors are quietly pushing hard to kill off SB 972, a bill sponsored by one of the most forward-thinking Republicans in the state: Senator Jeff Brandes. His bill would recognize nurse practioners as independent health care providers.

And the doctors are increasingly desperate because Republicans in the Florida House, in solidarity with President Trump’s push to lower health care costs for all Americans, are rapidly advancing a similar bill there.

President Trump’s administration recently backed the concept in a report calling for states to allow “all healthcare providers to practice to the top of their license, utilizing their full skill set.”

The Florida House’s version could pass as early as this week.

Critics claim that allowing nurse practitioners to diagnose certain types of illnesses and prescribe treatments might lead to some patients seeking help from unqualified individuals. But in study after study, statistics say that treatment from nurse practitioners is just as safe as treatment from physicians.

The truth is, many doctors actually charge nurse practitioners exorbitant sums of money to practice under their license – in some cases, as much as $50,000 per year. So it’s little wonder why these docs would fight so desperately to keep nurse practitioners under their thumbs.

For decades, Republicans across the country have advocated for initiatives that would put downward pressure on health costs. One of those initiatives is already in place: high deductible health plans which incentivize the insured individual or family to shop around for less expensive ways to treat health issues.

Obamacare did nothing to lower health costs. Gone are the days when someone could wake up with a sore throat and call the doctor for an inexpensive appointment and prescription to fix the problem. Doctor visits cost money, diagnostic tests cost money, and medical treatment in the United States costs a lot more than it really should.

But a high deductible plan is useless if there are no savings to be found. That’s why Senator Brandes’s bill is so important. It gives consumers more treatment options. More options means more competition and lower costs.

My family of six relies on a high-deductible health care plan that we found far, far away from the absurdly expensive Obamacare exchanges. Our plan protects us against catastrophic illness or expensive medical treatments.

One of the ways we keep our health costs down is by seeking the advice of nurse practitioners for routine diagnostic care and treatment. Nurse practitioners don’t charge anywhere near the same rate as our family physician. While we value our doctor’s expertise, the vast majority of ailments our family deals with on a regular basis can easily be handled by a nurse practitioner. If there were more of them, the costs would be more competitive.

Families across the state would easily see their out-of-pocket medical costs go down if state senators would give Senator Brandes’s bill a hearing.


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