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 http://health.wusf.usf.edu

State lawmakers are advancing a measure giving women the opportunity to sue over physical or emotional injuries from an abortion.

Obamacare Success In States Like Florida Not Due To Politics

Feb 13, 2017

Ask anyone about their health care and you are likely to hear about ailments, doctors, maybe costs and insurance hassles. Most people don’t go straight from “my health” to a political debate, and yet that is what our country has been embroiled in for almost a decade.

Florida Child Marching Across Country To Find Diabetes Cure

Feb 13, 2017

A 10-year old boy from Jupiter is trekking through Orlando on Friday as part of a march across the country. Noah Barnes is walking coast to coast to raise money for diabetes research.


Three months after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment on medical marijuana, state health officials and prospective pot-seeking patients are at odds over proposed rules that would spell out who could get marijuana.

A bill making changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is now headed to the Senate floor, after passing its last committee Thursday. One of its ardent supporters is Marissa Alexander—the Jacksonville woman who faced 60 years in prison for firing a warning shot in an alleged domestic dispute.

Humana, Florida’s largest Medicare managed-care company, says it will lay off hundreds of employees in April, including 328 in Florida.

Of those, 260 are in the Tampa Bay area, according to Humana spokeswoman Nancy Hanewinckel.

The Florida Department of Health held workshops across the state this week to get input from the public about how best to implement Amendment 2, which expands the use of medical marijuana.

Florida voters passed it last November, but state officials are still trying to work out regulations.

“I'm tired of operating on 14-year-olds,” says trauma surgeon Dr. Tanya Zakrison of the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

She’s one of the surgeons who’s operated on the more than 850 children and teenagers with gunshot wounds who came through the trauma center in the past decade.

What got them there and what happened to them afterwards—those are questions Zakrison would like answered. But she was initially advised by mentors and research advisors that she should avoid focusing on gun-related trauma.

Last Cuban Doctor Defectors Arrive In U.S.

Feb 9, 2017

Yoandri Pavot applied just in time for a visa under a recently scrapped U.S. policy that had long welcomed doctors from Cuba who defected while on assignment in third countries.

Plan Would Scrap Limits On Trauma Centers

Feb 8, 2017

A Senate Republican on Tuesday filed a proposal that would eliminate caps on the numbers of trauma centers in the state.

Negron’s Water Plan Clears First Hurdle

Feb 8, 2017

Senate President Joe Negron's plan to buy farmland south of Lake Okeechobee to try to prevent the return of toxic algae blooms in Treasure Coast waterways drew unanimous support Tuesday at its first Senate committee.

Wikimedia Commons

A bill allowing patients and doctors to enter into primary care agreements has moved forward. These "direct primary care" agreements generally involve monthly payments between patients -- or patients' employers -- and their doctors. They cover routine medical care without involving insurance companies.

First responders who get post-traumatic stress disorder on the job soon may be eligible for more workers compensation benefits.

Sugar Farmers Balk At Selling Land For Reservoir

Feb 7, 2017

Sugar farmers who own land in an area targeted by Senate President Joe Negron for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee said Monday they won't be "willing sellers" to the state.

Proposal Seeks Repeal Of Certificate Of Need Laws

Feb 6, 2017

Lining up with Gov. Rick Scott and House leaders, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, filed a proposal Friday that would eliminate the state's "certificate of need" regulatory process, which helps determine whether hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities are built.

Republicans are increasingly talking about repairing former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, a softening of tone that comes as their drive to fulfill a keystone campaign promise that encounters disunity, drooping momentum and uneasy voters.

Managed Care Contracting Begins To Move Forward

Feb 6, 2017

Health plans that want to compete for contracts in Florida's Medicaid managed-care system face a Feb. 13 deadline for signaling their interest to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

In the upcoming legislative session, lawmakers will debate how to implement the state’s new medical marijuana regulations. 71% of voters approved a measure to allow more patients to access the drug. One of the top fundraisers behind the effort wants to see more competition in the industry.

Quincy Walters/WUSF

Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis held a town hall Saturday, to hear ideas about replacing the Affordable Care Act. 

But he was met with opposition as about every one of the 200 people gathered at The Centre of Palm Harbor were in support of Obamacare. Many came to voice their concerns with the law's potential repeal. 

Through years of acrimony over the relative merits of Obamacare, one kind of health insurance has remained steady, widespread and relatively affordable: Employer-sponsored plans.

Job-based medical plans still cover more Americans than any other type, typically with greater benefits and lower out-of-pocket expense. Recent cost increases for this sort of coverage have been a tiny fraction of those for Obamacare plans for individuals.

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