Health News Florida

Since 2006, Health News Florida has provided in-depth journalism on health policy issues in our state.

Health News Florida is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at

Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking the Legislature to pass a $79.3 billion state budget next year.

At a news conference in Jacksonville Monday morning, Scott went over some of the highlights of his Florida First Budget.

One of those highlights is a substantial revision to how the state doles out money for indigent health care.

Today, the Florida Department of Health announced the five dispensing organizations approved to provide patients with intractable epilepsy and people with advanced cancer access to low-THC cannabis. The five approved organizations are:

Northwest Region – Hackney Nursery Company

Northeast Region – Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, LLC

Central Region – Knox Nursery, Inc.

Southwest Region – Alpha Foliage, Inc.  

Southeast Region – Costa Nursery Farms, LLC

UnitedHealthcare Warns Of Marketplace Exit

Nov 20, 2015

UnitedHealthGroup laid out a litany of reasons Thursday why it might stop selling individual health insurance through federal and state markets in 2017 — a move some see as an effort to compel the Obama administration to ease regulations and make good on promised payments.

House Eyes Health Care Deregulation Ideas

Nov 20, 2015

Touting the possibility of more choices for patients, a House committee Thursday began a renewed effort to revamp regulations in the health-care industry.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell stopped at Miami Dade College on Wednesday to drum up excitement around open enrollment for health insurance plans—though during her stop she was not keen on addressing some of the problems that have come out of Obamacare.

She began her tour of MDC in a computer lab on the second floor of the downtown campus where there’s a bank of computers dedicated just to helping students enroll in Obamacare.

Florida hospitals paid for $1.5 billion in health costs for uninsured and underinsured patients last year.

Florida senators continued moving forward Wednesday with a bill that would help the children of legal immigrants get low-cost health insurance coverage through the state's KidCare program.

House Panel Looks At Foster Care Options

Nov 19, 2015

With the rate of children coming into Florida's foster-care system slowly increasing, state lawmakers are studying how to improve the options of where the children go to live.

The Florida Legislature is moving ahead with a measure that will increase the number of children eligible for vouchers that pay for special education programs.

The third year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is now under way, and this week on Florida Matters (Sunday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m.),  WUSF's Carson Cooper takes a look at some of the changes coming for health insurance in 2016 with Florida Covering Kids & Families Project Director Jodi Ray, Tampa health insurance agent Eric Brown and WUSF News Director and Health News Florida Editor Mary Shedden.

One of the most intense debates in men's health has flared again: How often should men get screened for prostate cancer?

This debate has simmered since 2012, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force shocked many patients and doctors by recommending against routine prostate cancer screening.

A new analysis of Florida’s health care markets finds that as the state’s hospitals consolidate and expand, new business models are shifting the negotiating power.

Study: Health Plan Buyers Will Save Money If They Shop

Nov 18, 2015

You better shop around.

For holiday gifts?

No, for a 2016 health insurance plan on the federal marketplace,

Pot Proposals For Terminally Ill Push Forward

Nov 18, 2015

Measures that would legalize full-strength medical marijuana for terminally ill patients received preliminary approval from House and Senate committees Tuesday, but not before one version underwent a major change that could have a dramatic impact on the state's current cannabis law.

Break-In Rescue Bill Gets Senate Approval

Nov 18, 2015

A proposal (SB 308) that would allow people to break into locked vehicles to help senior citizens, disabled adults, children or pets was approved without opposition Tuesday by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Editor's note: This story has been updated and contains a correction.

Florida lawmakers should enact more protections for health-insurance consumers and families of workers in small businesses, a state advisory board says.

The Florida House and Senate will reform the state's troubled mental-health system during the 2016 legislative session, predicts one of the lawmakers spearheading the effort.

Not every American 65 and older is worrying about Medicare's open enrollment period, now underway. Some who are eligible for the government insurance plan are staying on the job, and gaining access to employer-based plans they say are a better option. 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who loudly opposed a medical marijuana measure that appeared on the 2014 ballot, is staying on the sidelines this time around.

Courtesy of USF Health

A international study published Monday suggests that children at risk for type 1 diabetes are less likely to develop the disease if they consume probiotics when they're infants.