Senator Don Gaetz helps keep drug repackaging measure alive in the Senate

Feb 28, 2012

The following article was published in the Florida Current on February 28, 2012:

Gaetz helps keep drug repackaging measure alive in Senate

By Travis Pillow

Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Destin, helped pull a contentious worker’s compensation measure from the brink of defeat on Tuesday.

After it became clear that Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, did not support a sweeping amendment package backed by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee voted down the measure 4-2 while Gaetz was out of the room.

Gaetz then returned, and on a motion to reconsider from Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, the committee passed the measure 4-3, with Garcia changing his vote to support the measure.

Business groups have backed the underlying bill, which would limit the amounts dispensing physicians can charge for drug repackaging. Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has said the changes would provide a basis for lowering workers compensation rates. The bill’s supporters have criticized changes changes adopted by Garcia’s Health Regulation Committee. 

The House is advancing a different proposal, but the measure has faced more obstacles in the Senate. “I’m not supporting the bill, period,” said Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City. He said he would not vote for the bill, with or without the amendments, because it would “further undermine the ability of medical doctors to get paid for prescriptions.”

Garcia said after the meeting that he did not want to kill the bill when it was being presented by one of Hays’s legislative aides, and that he was willing to keep the measure alive for the time being if the amendments could be kept alive with it.

He said he intends to wage “nuclear war” against the bill “if anything happens to that amendment.”

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