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Sen. Storms, trial lawyers, Ballard et al win a big one in Medicaid bill

With relatively little explanation, Sen. Joe Negron this morning yanked one – and only one -- tort reform provision from his Medicaid bill: A measure limiting liability for community-based care groups. Negron later said that he thought CBC’s (but not nursing homes, Medicaid docs and developmental-disability providers) should be addressed in other bills.

The issue (in both House and Senate) occupied hours of debate and revolved around dead and maimed children, namely the Barahona children. Background here.

Kids rights crusader, Sen. Ronda Storms of Valrico, was adamantly opposed. So was the trial-lawyer lobby. And there was a lesser known group working in front of and behind the scenes: Florida’s Children First, a group stocked with trial lawyers that’s closely associated with uber lawyer Howard Talenfeld. Florida’s Children hired uber lobbyists: Brian D. Ballard,  Michael T. Dolce, Fred E. Karlinsky, Joseph M. McCann, Clarence V. McKee, Bridget Nocco, Christina L. Spudeas, Timothy F. Stanfield, Katherine S. Webb.

A sign that the CBC language was in trouble popped up last week, when future House Speaker Richard Corcoran (a one-time trial-lawyer association member and good friend of Nocco’s) voted against a House version.

The measure still could survive, but now that it’s no longer tied to a must-pass bill like Medicaid, it’s a far tougher haul for the backers.