n the opening days of the lawmaking session, two low-profile South Florida doctors helped funnel $70,000 to politicians and political groups, bringing their total contributions to an eye-opening $3 million in just one year.
In the next two days, as lawmakers hammer out the state budget, it’ll become clear if doctors Paul Zimmerman and Gerald Glass will get a return on their political investments.
The two doctors are the founders of a Miramar-based company called Automated Healthcare Solutions, which sells software that workers-compensation doctors use to dispense medications in their office.
But that profitable practice could be undermined by a little-debated provision slipped into an under-the-radar Senate budget bill at the behest of the insurance lobby, which says that doctors who dispense in-house are driving up the workers-compensation costs.
The dispute is just one example of how the agendas of special-interests crop up with little discussion and tie up state lawmakers as they try to write the state budget.
The workers comp language doesn’t exist in the House, where the political committees run by House Speaker Dean Cannon and budget chief Denise Grimsley each received $10,000 from Automated Health Care Solutions just before the start of the lawmaking session, when fundraising is banned.
Why did the doctors contribute so much?
“Because I’m a nice person,” smiled Grimsley, a Sebring Republican who’s one of the most well-liked legislators in the Capitol.
Zimmerman and Glass have given more than $1 million to the Republican Party of Florida, $615,000 to a committee once run by Haridopolos, $610,000 to two committees linked to Cannon, $295,000 to Scott’s political committee and $60,000 to the Florida Democratic Party.