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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.

TampaBay2017.com

Even if you're not a college football fan there will be lots to do when the National Championship comes to Tampa on Jan. 9.

Look closely at a bill from your health care provider, and there's likely a sigh of relief your insurance company negotiated a better rate than the initial charge.

But those negotiations are often secret, and it's hard to compare one insurance company to another.

So how do you know whether they are negotiating the best price?

St. Petersburg faces $820,000 in fines from the Department of Environmental Protection for releasing over 200 million of gallons of sewage during summer storms.

Promising new treatments are providing hope that a cure for some forms of cancer may be within reach.

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center are using one form of immunotherapy and awaiting FDA approval for another. 

The Moffitt Cancer Center is planning a 10-year, $800 million expansion driven by a promising new cancer treatment called “immunotherapy,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

On the day after the election, 100,000 people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act. It was the largest single-day enrollment period up to that point.

Fewer people are smoking now than ever before.

Tobacco Free Florida, which was created a decade ago, can take some credit for that.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has rolled out a plan that he hopes will keep more sewage from flowing into Tampa Bay.

It's been a difficult week for Bayfront Health System's parent company. Shares of Community Health Systems fell 50 percent last week, and the company reported a $79 million third-quarter loss on Tuesday.

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces begins Tuesday and the state says the average premium increase in Florida is 19 percent.

But the news is not be as bad as it sounds for most consumers.

A former researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center had 19 studies retracted from a medical journal after it was found the same data were used to represent different experiments.

With open enrollment for health insurance getting underway in workplaces, odds are employees around Florida are seeing yet another increase in their premiums.

Florida’s Surgeon General wants to know how Miami-Dade County is spending state funds in combating the Zika virus.

Seniors who like their Medicare choice this year, shouldn't assume it will be the same next year.

A doctor in your network this year could be out of network next year. The same goes for a prescription drug that is covered this year.

Seniors who aren't comparison shopping during Medicare open enrollment, could see their costs increase.

Colleen Krepstekies with the AARP says her agency can connect seniors to organizations that can help them navigate the enrollment process.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on Wednesday, but made no mention of the controversy that has plagued his campaign since Friday.

As it enters its seventh year, the Affordable Care Act is facing challenges, leading some to speculate that the law will have to change in order to survive.

  

The state has received reports of more than 268 million gallons of sewage that spilled onto roads and into water around Florida so far this year and nearly 95 percent of it happened in Pinellas County during Hurricane Hermine.

Members of Pinellas County's legislative delegation say the early closure of a sewage plant is a main reason why the city of St. Petersburg had to release millions of gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay during Hurricane Hermine.

At a delegation workshop Tuesday city officials explained that the Albert Whitted plant near downtown could still be running today, but closed in April 2015. At the time, city officials told the state another sewage plant in the southwest part of the city could handle the additional load.

St. Petersburg has a plan to minimize sewage spills during major rain events and the Department of Environmental Protection wants to ensure it follows through.

Downpours from Hurricane Hermine forced wastewater facilities in at least 15 communities around the Tampa Bay area to release millions of gallons of sewage onto residential streets and into water bodies over a seven day period that ended Tuesday.

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