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PIP overhaul looks like a longshot

by John Kennedy | February 24th, 2012

The Legislature’s latest bid to revamp personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance looks like it could collapse amid the same intra-industry squabbles that killed previous efforts over much of the past decade.

Gov. Rick Scott is an ardent advocate for reform — tucking the demand for action into his State of the State address in January.

Now, Capitol hall talk is swirling about the idea of a special session on the subject –that amounts to a rhetorical surrender on the idea of any deal being reached before the Legislature’s scheduled March 9 finish.

But House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, said Friday that a special session isn’t part of his plans. Prospects for consensus also looks tough, he conceded.

“I don’t know whether we’ll be able to bring the House and Senate positions together before the end of session,” Cannon said. “But I’m not contemplating a special session on the issue.”

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, whose district includes parts of northern Palm Beach County, is sponsoring a bill (SB 1860) that would  enact a series of  reforms, including implementing medical fee schedules, licensing medical clinics that provide personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, and requiring insurers to promptly pay claims.

Negron says his approach is closest to that pitched by Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who are pushing hard to rid the system of fraudulent claims and shady clinics who operate to draw on the $10,000 insurance coverage every Florida motorist is supposed to carry.

The House proposal (CS/HB 119)  by Rep. John Boyd, R-Bradenton, would scrap the state’s PIP law, replacing it with a proposed emergency care insurance that maintains the $10,000 medical coverage, but would require all accident victims to be treated in emergency rooms or by their personal physicians — not clinics — within 72 hours.

Massage therapists, accupuncturists and chiropractors would be from receiving PIP payments for medical treatments, under the House proposal.

The two sides are also split over attorneys fees.

 

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4 Responses to “PIP overhaul looks like a longshot”

  1. whasup Says:

    Um … “Massage therapists, accupuncturists and chiropractors would be from receiving PIP payments”?

    Perhaps you meant “would be prohibited from”!

    But you know, after the last time somebody crashed into my truck, I found the aroma therapy really very soothing.

  2. Anti-Tallahassee Says:

    Do you notice that all the “unsolvable” issues in our society involve the same people: insurers, lawyers, politicians, and “healthcare” providers? Too bad petty “leaders” are not able to put aside their self-interests for the greater good; too bad the citizens of Florida are too lazy/ignorant to stop electing the pivot points of corruption – politicians.

  3. Peter Says:

    Negron is not Senate President.

  4. tragic_consequences Says:

    Anti,

    The reason the same deep pockets don’t get their problems solved, especially in an election year, is that legislators can now fundraise from them for another year.

    Do you really think politicians want to solve PIP and cut themselves off from some of the most lucrative donors?

    For some reason, the bills won’t quite make it through, and legislators will go back to docs, insurers, lawyers, and the rest saying they just need another year to get it done. They’ll say how close they got, how the Gov got on board, and blah, blah, blah.

    Is it extortion to treat interest groups this way? Will Allstate and State Farm realize they are playing a losing game?

    It’s all a money game up there now. Legislators get rich, get college president jobs, become lobbyists at think tanks, and all the other yucky ways they get paid. The slush funds are all off the books and the money is virtually untraceable.

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