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Julio Ochoa

Health News Florida Editor

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.

He comes to WUSF from The Tampa Tribune, where he began as a website producer for TBO.com and served in several editing roles, eventually becoming the newspaper’s deputy metro editor. 

Julio was born and raised in St. Petersburg, and received a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and worked at a paper in Greeley, Colo., before returning to Florida as a reporter and as breaking news editor for the Naples Daily News.

Contact Julio at 813-974-8633, on Twitter at @julioochoa or email julioochoa@wusf.org.

Florida’s largest provider of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act responded today to the federal government’s decision to stop funding subsidies that keep costs low for some consumers.

Caribbean American Civic Movement

Groups in the Tampa Bay area are mounting humanitarian missions to Puerto Rico and holding fundraisers for victims following Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Florida Hospital has purchased about 100 acres along Interstate 4 in Lakeland where it plans to build a freestanding emergency room and eventually a 200-bed hospital.

The C130's four propeller engines scream as it lifts off from MacDill Air Force base in Tampa.

The plane is loaded with pallets of medical supplies bound for St. Croix, nine days after the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.

Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Humanitarian flights to the islands of St. Croix and Puerto Rico are continuing in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Crews based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on Friday loaded a cargo plane with supplies and headed for St. Croix, where patients from island hospitals were picked up and taken to a Columbia, South Carolina hospital

Health insurance rates on the Obamacare marketplace in Florida will increase by an average of 45 percent in 2018.

A proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would cost Florida $9.7 billion in federal funding over six years, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Recent efforts in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare are overshadowing an important deadline to fund children's health insurance.

UF Health

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a new therapy that they hope could lead to a cure for multiple sclerosis.

A mild stroke sent St. Petersburg resident Lori Ngo to the hospital in May.

She was feeling a pain in her leg, but didn't think much of it.

A Florida organization that helps people sign up for insurance through the federal marketplace will have its funding cut by nearly $1 million.

For the millions of people who are still without power across Florida, heat illness can be a concern.  

Daylina Miller/WUSF

More than 1.4 million customers in the Tampa Bay area were still without power as of 3 p.m. Monday, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Hillsborough County

As Hurricane Irma approaches, authorities are encouraging residents to know whether they live in an evacuation zone, so they know when it’s time to leave.

A public health emergency was declared for Florida on Thursday ahead of Hurricane Irma.

As Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey, Floridians may be wondering how well the state could weather a similar storm.

AAA says Hurricane Harvey, which slammed into the Texas coast and is causing widespread flooding, could cause a 5- to 15-cent surge in gas prices across Florida this week.

A proposal by two senators to replace Obamacare would be particularly bad for Florida, costing the state billions of dollars over the next 10 years, a new study says.

Community health centers that serve poor patients around Florida are worried that new restrictions on state and federal funding could hurt their ability to provide charity care.

Consumers who want to enroll in Obamacare for 2018 will have less help and a shorter time to do it.

Florida hospitals recently learned that an agreement between the state and federal governments will provide them with up to $1.5 billion to cover care for people who can’t pay.

But local governments will have to put up $559 million in matching funds before hospitals can access all of that money.

Michael Smith graduated from a Caribbean medical school in 2014 with a degree and a mountain of debt.

He wants to start paying it off, but first he needs a medical license. The only way to get that is by completing his final years of medical training at a residency program in the United States.

The state's first sexually-transmitted case of Zika virus in 2017 has been confirmed in Pinellas County.

A state investigation into St. Petersburg's sewage spills places much of the blame on the decision to close the Albert Whitted wastewater treatment facility.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

About 50,000 gallons of partially-treated sewage overflowed Wednesday from a water treatment plant in south St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s health center has a new home and it’s twice as big.

The clinic outgrew its space in downtown St. Petersburg and was experiencing a backlog of appointments and longer wait times.

With everyone age 65 and older eligible for Medicare, seniors may be the last group that comes to mind when there's talk of Medicaid spending reductions.

Changes to Medicaid in Republican proposals for health care reform could cause insurance rates to go up for everyone, according to Rep. Kathy Castor.

Six companies filed to sell health insurance in Florida next year on the Obamacare exchanges with an average rate increase of 17.8 percent, state officials said.

However, if the state approves the rate increase, it would likely be offset by an increase in federal subsidies. That means consumers wouldn’t have to pay much more for their premiums.

Hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage spilled onto Pinellas County streets and into waterways after last year's tropical storms. A task force set up to address the issue provided an update on their progress on Thursday in Seminole.

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