In hopes of improving the chances of final passage for several House initiatives that have either been languishing or watered down in the Senate, a committee will consider bundling several health care proposals into two omnibus bills Thursday.
The House Health and Human Services Committee will consider two "proposed committee substitutes" during its meeting Thursday morning. Both proposals tack on less popular measures to issues that have widespread support in the Senate: assisted living facilities reforms and allowing three HCA-owned trauma centers to remain open regardless of ongoing legal challenges.
If the committee and then the full House approve the new omnibus bills, they will be sent to the Senate for consideration. Meanwhile, the Senate is moving forward with its bills that keep the issues separate.
House Speaker Will Weatherford said he supports the decision of committee Chairman Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, to combine these various health care proposals into one.
"I wouldn't say they're necessarily the priorities, but I would say they're important pieces of legislation," said Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. "I think Chair Corcoran just felt like some of these issues are related to each other and sometimes it's easier to send one omnibus package over to the Senate as opposed to a bunch of individual bills."
Rep. Mia Jones, the ranking Democrat on the Health and Human Services Committee, said she would have preferred keeping the measures separate. Asked about one of the proposals that takes the widely popular the trauma bill and adds language expanding types of services highly trained nurses can perform and regulation of virtual medical visits, Jones said she still needed to make up her mind.