They’re the premiere local agency helping older residents, disabled adults and their caregivers.

One Spark, Quality Education for All, and Medicaid are in the headlines today.

The University of Florida, Marissa Alexander, and marijuana are in the headlines today.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Medicaid expansion are in the headlines today.

School grades, Union Cty. Sheriff Jerry Whitehead, and Pastafarians are in the headlines today.

The Forrest High, The Jasksonville Sheriff's Office, and Marissa Alexander are in the headlines today.

Carol Gentry / WUSF

While most of the uninsured will be able to get subsidized health coverage Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act, the poorest adults under 65 will be out of luck in many states, including Florida.

You could call them “The Forgotten.”  Many are women in their 50s and 60s, too old to have children still at home so they can’t qualify for Medicaid. But they’re not yet 65 so they don’t qualify for Medicare, either.

One of them is Debra Straley, 56. She has no job and no health insurance, but luckily can get her high blood pressure pills at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. 

There are only a few days left until the nation's new health insurance exchanges are set to open.

October 1 is  when the uninsured will first be able to sign up for health insurance online. Premium costs are expected to vary widely state by state.

Florida  has resisted Obamacare, refusing to set up its own state-run exchange.

The Florida House also refused to expand Medicaid for low-income residents, and is not allowing federally funded "navigators" access to most county health departments.

UF Health

The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that Shands Healthcare will pay $26 million to resolve allegations that its hospitals submitted false claims to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs.

It's the law of the land, and by January 1st, 2014, most Americans will be required to have some form of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. 

Yet, polls show many still are confused about the law and its implementation.

More than two years after Florida lawmakers passed a controversial plan to transform the Medicaid system, it's showtime.

Florida’s private homeowners’ insurance market is “the worse it’s ever been” in the past five years according to Michael Letcher, president of the Home Insurance Buyers Guide.

“To me, the health of the market isn’t how many policies are available in the private market but what kind of choice does a customer have and what kind of ability do we all have to shop our policies,” Letcher said.

State Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville, says the debate over how exactly to implement the Affordable Care Act in Florida is far from over. State Sen. Aaron Bean tells Health News Florida's Lottie Watts why Medicaid expansion failed during the 2013 legislative session.

It appears increasingly likely that the legislative session will end on Friday without agreement to accept more than $50 billion in federal funds to cover an estimated 1.1 million uninsured Floridians. 

If Florida doesn't take the money, many of the poorest adults in the state -- those who have incomes under $12,000 a year -- won't be offered coverage on Jan. 1, when the expansion of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act goes into effect.


Speaker Will Weatherford introduced a new member of the Florida House this week.

“Members, we have an auto-reader. We had it in the closet just in case we ever had to actually read the bills,” Weatherford said amid laughs from the chamber. “It may be a little bit faster than normal.”

Weatherford's communications director announced on Twitter that the auto-reader's name is Mary.

State Sen. Aaron Bean's bare-bones Florida Health Choices Plus plan is no longer an alternative to Medicaid expansion in Florida.

With the Florida House unwilling to accept federal funds to cover 1 million low-income uninsured Floridians, top lawmakers in the Senate say the legislative session could end May 3 with a forfeit of billions of dollars available for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The House Appropriations Committee today passed HB 7169, a measure that creates a program called Florida Health Choices Plus, that will cover about 115,000 people.  

State Sen. Joe Negron, author of a plan to cover more than 1 million Floridians with private health insurance, offered an amendment on Wednesday intended as an olive branch to the Florida House. Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry talks with WUSF’s Craig Kopp about the dueling plans.

Medicaid Funding Frenzy Grows at Capitol

Apr 10, 2013

Republicans who control the Florida House hint they're about to unveil their version of a health plan for the state's low-income uninsured between now and Monday. It appears that they still intend to turn down more than $50 billion in federal funds that would pay the tab.

Meanwhile, calls grew louder for House leaders to accept the money. Gov. Rick Scott said, "We're already paying the taxes" and the money will simply go to another state if Florida turns it down.  State Rep. Mike Fasano went farther, saying he hopes his fellow House Republicans "come to their senses."

What kind of health coverage can you buy for $20 to $30 a month?

"You can't," says John Sinibaldi, an independent broker in Seminole.  

That may sum up the real-world prospects for Florida Health Choices Plus, the plan for extremely low-income uninsured Florida adults that State Sen. Aaron Bean's Health Policy Committee approved Tuesday along party lines.

Bean said he offered it in the knowledge that it wasn't much, but was at least something that the Florida House leadership might accept. 

Sen. Aaron Bean Releases Alternative To Medicaid Expansion

Apr 1, 2013
State Sen. Aaron Bean (R), District 4.
Aaron Bean

In a possible alternative to expanding Medicaid, a Senate committee Tuesday is expected to take up a proposal aimed at helping low-income Floridians get health services --- while turning down billions of dollars in federal money.

The proposal, which Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean has helped draw up, would create the "Health Choice Plus Program" and would target adults whose incomes are below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Associated Press

It's set to be something of a legislative showdown in Tallahassee after a key House panel differed with Florida Governor Rick Scott over the issue of Medicaid expansion.

CEO of Shands
Shands Jacksonville

He's the new CEO of Shands Jacksonville, and Russ Armistead has a full plate- dealing with everything from turf battles over trauma care in Northeast Florida to a planned Medicaid expansion in the state that will greatly impact Shands, the "safety-net" hospital for the region.