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Maneuvering, infighting doomed health bills in Tallahassee


Millions of Floridians have no health insurance. The state has nowhere near enough primary-care doctors. Highly trained nurses might be able to help, but they lack the authority. Hospitals are suing other hospitals, claiming their trauma centers don't even deserve to operate.

No one expected Medicaid expansion to get a hearing in a Legislature dominated by Republicans seeking re-election, most of whom oppose the federal Affordable Care Act.

Yet even health care issues that might have seemed assured of success went nowhere this year. Blame it on political squabbles and failed power plays that managed to sink much in their wake.

Case in point: Senate President Don Gaetz tried to entice the House into helping doctors get around insurer restrictions on the drugs they prescribe. So he added his controversial idea to an under-the-radar insurance bill slated for easy passage — and torpedoed both.

Gaetz has no regrets. "It's never more than 10 months until the next session," he quipped in an interview this week.

That wasn't the only time a lawmaker derailed a bill by tying it to a less popular topic.

Read more here.