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Commission On Healthcare and Hospital Funding Meets In Fort Myers

Topher Forhecz/WGCU

Gov. Rick Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding met at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers on Tuesday.

The governor said the commission wants to protect taxpayers from what he calls hospital “price gouging.”

Commissioners heard from a Southwest Florida doctor advocating for a type of healthcare that may become popular statewide.

Dr. Lee Gross works in North Port. His practice provides what’s called “direct primary care.” The model creates a direct deal between a patient or business and the doctor.

Patients would pay a flat rate – say $50  a month – for a range of medical services.

Gross said it also cuts out costs that come with going through insurance companies.

“For example, if I wanted to give you a dollar, the most efficient way to give you a dollar is to hand it to you,” he said. “It would not be to hand it to you, to pass it to every single person on this commission to take a penny out of that dollar and then for that process - to do that - you have to pay 60 percent administrative fee to collect that money.”

The commission praised the model. It said businesses could redirect money saved by the deal into employee’s retirement funds.

State lawmakers also support this idea. Some filed bills for the 2016 legislative session to protect direct primary care providers from being considered and regulated as insurers. 

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.