Health News Florida

Health News Florida
12:19 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

The 10 Places Where Health Insurance Costs The Least

St. Paul, capital of Minnesota, the land of inexpensive health insurance.

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:55 pm

People in much of Minnesota, northwestern Pennsylvania and Tucson, Ariz., are getting the best bargains from the health care law's new insurance marketplaces. Their premiums run half as much as those in the country's most expensive markets.

The 10 regions with the lowest premiums in the nation also include Salt Lake City, all of Hawaii and eastern Tennessee. This ranking is based on the lowest cost of a silver plan, the midrange plan most consumers are choosing.

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Health News Florida
12:13 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

For Fourth Straight Year, Democratic Lawmakers File Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:47 am

Two Democratic state lawmakers filed bills Monday to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. The measure is called the Cathy Jordan Cannabis Act, after a Florida woman who has lived with Lou Gehrig’s disease for the better part of thirty years.

If it passed, the bill would task Florida’s Department of Health and Department of Business and Professional Regulation with figuring out how to regulate and distribute the cannabis. Several patients who say they benefit from using medical marijuana joined the bill sponsors at a news conference at the Capitol.

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Health News Florida
6:56 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Long-Term Care a Lifeline for Poor

Milagros "Miss Millie" Medina
Mary Shedden WUSF

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:30 am

Milagros Medina rents a room in a quiet subdivision on the outskirts of Lakeland. At 68, her arthritis, high blood pressure and chronic back pain are not going away. 

And she doesn’t want to end up in a nursing home.

This retiree who likes being called Miss Millie tries to keep going by getting help with the chores most people take for granted. She says without financial help from Florida’s Medicaid program, she couldn’t afford it. And her health would suffer.

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Health News Florida
11:08 am
Wed February 5, 2014

New Proposal Emerges in Trauma Center Debate

The Florida Department of Health this week released a new proposal aimed at resolving a long-running legal and political battle about the approvals of new hospital trauma centers.

The proposed rule would create a formula for the approvals of trauma centers in 19 different areas of the state. Some parts of the hospital industry opposed an earlier version of the proposed rule late last year. The new proposal, like the earlier version, would use a scoring system that would take into consideration issues such as population, transport times to hospitals and community support.

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11:00 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Florida's Online Health Insurance Website Will Need 67,000 Enrollees

Lead in text: 
Between Oct. 1 and end of December, the federal health exchange at had processed nearly 560,000 coverage applications in Florida and completed about 158,000 actual enrollments.
Florida's online health insurance "marketplace," a website separate from the Affordable Care Act, will need at least 67,000 enrollees for it to break even, the site's CEO said this afternoon. But Rose Naff, who oversees Florida Health Choices, said she believes enrollment will likely start slowly when the site switches on.
Health News Florida
11:53 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Pirates, Beads and Health Insurance

Laura Ottaviano works full-time as an in-person assister.
Lottie Watts WUSF

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 12:24 pm

Gasparilla is Tampa's version of Mardi Gras -- at least when it comes to the beads, the parade and the partying.

During last weekend's pirate invasion, as people walked around in their best pirate costumes, contractors for the federal government were trying to pitch health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health News Florida
9:38 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Scott Wants More Cancer Centers

Mary Shedden WUSF

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 2:21 pm

Cancer hospitals vying to earn National Cancer Institute designation would get $60 million next year under a budget proposal being released by Florida Gov. Rick Scott today.

Scott, who is running for a second term as governor, made Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center the final stop of his “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” tour on Tuesday. Flanked by dozens of researchers, university leaders and politicians, he said the $60 million proposal can help cancer centers invest in the research needed to earn the prestigious title.

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Health News Florida
4:26 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Pot Amendment Puts Cloud Over Anti-Seizure Marijuana Debate

Backers of a non-euphoric strain of cannabis that helps reduce seizures in children aren't giving up on a legislative fix, but the politics of pot could make their uphill battle even steeper.

A sharply divided Florida Supreme Court on Monday approved a ballot initiative that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, rejecting arguments from Attorney General Pam Bondi, Republican legislative leaders and others that the proposal was misleading and would give doctors broad discretion over who would qualify for the pot.

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Health News Florida
5:40 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

FL Supreme Court OKs Medical Marijuana for Ballot

Coming to a drug store near you?

TALLAHASSEE -- A Florida measure that would allow the use of medical marijuana has cleared its final hurdle and will be on the November ballot. 

The state Supreme Court on Monday approved the language for the proposed constitutional amendment.

The justices approved the ballot summary 4-3 just three days after a petition drive reached the required number of signatures to place the measure on the ballot.

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Health News Florida
7:08 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Talks Aimed at Healing Trauma Divisions

With a former Supreme Court justice shepherding the talks, negotiators Thursday tried to break through a long-running disagreement about how Florida should approve new trauma centers across the state.

Trauma surgeons, hospital lawyers and the Florida Department of Health's top attorney held a day-long negotiating session aimed at coming up with a rule that could play a key role in determining where trauma centers will be allowed to open in the future.

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Health News Florida
1:16 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Garcia Re-files Medicaid Expansion But House Isn't Budging

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah
Florida Senate

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 3:44 pm

Top Republicans in the Florida Legislature have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in the state. Despite that, Democrats say they’ll keep pushing for the expansion. Now a Senate Republican has re-filed a failed 2013 proposal to expand the program to more low-income Floridians.

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Health News Florida
12:41 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

FL Blue Acts When Story Airs

Merrie Beth Neely

Two Florida Blue customers who had been caught in a major glitch in the company’s enrollment process say they received help immediately after WUSF's Health News Florida reported on their problem.

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Health News Florida
12:17 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Glitch Hits FL Blue Enrollees

Merrie Beth Neely

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:52 pm

Florida Blue may have bitten off more than it can chew with its new plans under the Affordable Care Act. The company's customer-service apparatus and computer system appear to be overwhelmed and unable to cope.

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Health News Florida
6:35 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Florida Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana For Child Seizures

Marilyn Budzynski takes care of her 20-year-old son, Michael, in Eustis, Fla., in September. Michael suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
Tom Benitez MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:57 pm

Florida may soon become the latest state to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana. Advocates there are gathering signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the fall ballot.

But Florida's Legislature may act sooner to allow residents access to a particular type of marijuana. Advocates say the strain called Charlotte's Web offers hope to children with severe seizure disorders.

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Health News Florida
11:57 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Drug Database Changes on Life Support

A move to make it harder for investigators to get access to a statewide prescription-drug database is in trouble.

Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean, who's pushing the changes, on Tuesday pulled the measure (SB 7016) from his committee's agenda, citing concerns of Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who also serves on the committee.

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