Fla. House passes omnibus health care bill

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MIAMI (AP) — The Florida House has passed a sweeping health bill that increases access to care by expanding the power of nurse practitioners and promoting the use of telemedicine.

The controversial bill passed Friday, even though most lawmakers complained the omnibus bill had undergone voluminous changes in recent weeks. Both sides agreed the state must act to address a serious doctor shortage.

But opponents worried that allowing doctors to practice telemedicine even though they do not have a Florida license could jeopardize patient care. The Florida Medical Association and other critics also complained that nurse practitioners should not have powers to prescribe controlled substances without a doctor's supervision.

Advocates said such regulations are holding Floridians back and stressed the bill would give patients access to more health professional while also lowering costs.

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