George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Flor⁠i⁠da Pol⁠i⁠⁠t⁠⁠i⁠cs: Pol⁠i⁠cymakers, Keep Your Foo⁠t⁠ on ⁠t⁠he Gas…

By: Sal Nuzzo / 2021

Sal Nuzzo


George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity


Our message for Florida’s policymakers as they return — keep your foot on the gas.

Taylor Ann Drew was an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) employed by a local hospital in Tallahassee when the Florida Legislature passed two specific policy reforms that changed the course of her career.

In 2018, the Legislature passed Direct Primary Care, allowing primary care physicians to contract directly with patients as opposed to insurance providers.

Then, in 2020, the Legislature passed a new policy reform expanding the ability of ARNPs to establish independent practices.

Taylor Ann saw an opportunity.

She took advantage of Florida’s leadership on health care reform and opened an independent direct primary care practice, offering patients 24/7 access. Have an issue? No need to call a service; just send her a text directly.

But Taylor Ann took it one step further.

You see, in addition to her full-time career, she also has a side gig — she owns a yoga studio. And now, for a modest monthly fee, the residents of Tallahassee have access to a health care practitioner 24/7 and … unlimited yoga.

Holistic health care, right at our fingertips.

Thus, we have seen the real impacts of the vision of our policymakers over the past several years — wisdom and foresight with a set of principles rooted in the power of markets to solve problems when government bureaucracy gets out of the way. And it hasn’t just been in the health care arena.

Small businesses have sprouted in the wake of the pandemic as occupational licensing schemes have been reduced. Technology companies are looking to Miami as a new hub for their locations as regulatory systems get streamlined.

And our educational achievement gains lead the nation as more and more parents leverage the advantages of school choice in their communities.

It is against this backdrop that The James Madison Institute released our 2022 Policy Priorities, and our message for Florida’s policymakers as they return to the job of legislating is this — keep your foot on the gas.

Continue to seek out every opportunity to make the Sunshine State the best place to live, work and start a business.

Policy is never static — it evolves.

Five years ago, the idea of a regulatory sandbox for fintech companies wasn’t on the radar screen of policymakers. Now it’s a reality. Seven years ago, repealing most of Florida’s Certificate of Need regulations was a pipe dream. Now, we see new transplant centers and ambulatory surgical centers being built to accommodate the 800-plus new residents a day.

A decade ago, Taylor Ann Drew wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pursue her dream and combine her career in nursing with her passion for yoga.

These stories of success are powered by people and made possible by policymakers. Entrepreneurs respond when given opportunities — it’s the role of policymakers to have the foresight to make those opportunities possible.

Our Legislature has played this role effectively, and other states now see Florida for what it truly is — an example to be emulated.

We are seeing, nationally, a great sorting take place. Across the country, people are accelerating the process of “voting with their feet” as they pursue lives and cultures that best suit their moral, cultural and political philosophies.

The pandemic taught millions of Americans that they needn’t be tied to a geographic location for their careers in ways they thought.

Consequently, population and wealth migration are accelerating. At one end, states like California, New York, and Illinois amplify the tyranny of state regulations that strangle the lifeblood of the economy — small businesses — and see their populations siphon off millions of people and economic prosperity.

At the other end, states like Texas and Florida continue to create environments that produce innovative solutions — both for the issues of the day and those to come.

If past is prologue, and there is a lesson to take from the events of the past 18 months, it is to keep our foot on the gas, Florida, and let’s continue to illustrate to the rest of the country the success and progress that can be made when government recognizes that its most effective role is not to stifle free enterprise, but rather to nurture it.

At JMI, we’re looking forward to continuing to see this vision turn into reality in 2022.

Sal Nuzzo is vice president of Policy at The James Madison Institute.

Found in Florida Politics.