The Sunshine Economy

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays

The Sunshine Economy, takes a fresh look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse. From investments in health care, storm preparedness, international trade, real estate and technology based start-ups, tune in to learn more about one of the worlds most vibrant and diverse economies.

Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

Claudia Muñoz/WLRN

Beginning in July, if you have health insurance and go to an in-network hospital but a doctor who is not in your insurance plan’s network helps you, you aren’t supposed to get a surprise bill. The law is designed to stop what’s called balanced billing - the practice of charging a patient for medical care delivered by doctors outside their insurance network even when the the care was performed at an in-network facility.

 

Tom Hudson

The mix of organizations and agencies involved in the Everglades is about as complex as the ecosystem itself: the South Florida Water Management District, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, the federal departments of transportation, justice and agriculture and the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes are just some of them.

 

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

It’s been 15 months since President Obama placed a phone call from the Oval Office in the White House to Havana, Cuba. He was calling Raul Castro. That conversation upturned more than a half century of American foreign policy as relations have moved from silent isolation to a presidential visit. A lot of history has been made in those short 15 months. Here's some of that history by the numbers:

 

88 • number of years since a sitting U.S. president visited Cuba

Tom Hudson

HAVANA - Elizabeth Duconge says she has quadrupled her income in the past two months. She had been an art curator in Havana. Now she works at a paladar in the Vedado district here. Paladares are privately owned restaurants and some of the most visible reforms of the Cuban economy. Duconge said she makes $30 Cuban pesos a week waitressing at La Moraleja. “I didn’t have a way to support myself and my family,” she said a few hours before President Obama arrived in Cuba on Sunday. “I started to work here and it changed. Now I can help my family and support myself.

Tom Hudson

Just days away from the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years, the White House announced another set of changes to American travel, trade and financial policies toward Cuba. The further easing of restrictions and the presidential trip come as three leading congressmen expect a vote before the end of the year on removing either the travel ban or the 54-year-old trade embargo.

When Florida lawmakers gathered in Tallahassee on Day 1 of the 2016 legislative session, Gov.  Rick Scott was clear with his two top priorities: $1 billion in tax cuts and $250 million for the state's economic development agency Enterprise Florida. As the final day of the regular session approaches this week, lawmakers are poised to disappoint the governor on both efforts.

Tom Hudson

Consistently, voters say the economy is one of the top issues in the race for the White House. It ranks higher than any social issue, gun rights or immigration. If Florida voters are anything like voters elsewhere, it’s the economy that is the big issue as early voting in the state's presidential preference primary begins.

University of Florida

The story of modern South Florida is a story of fighting bugs.

Conquering South Florida’s landscape meant tolerating pests of all kinds that are fed by our sunny, moist climate. Those are the same features that inspired Henry Flagler to bring his railroad south from Palm Beach and for Napoleon Bonaparte Broward's promise to drain the Everglades.

So far, Floridians have been spared, but not for too much longer. On March 15, registered Republicans and Democrats in Florida will make their preference known for president. (Early voting actually begins, well, earlier.) The candidates, their campaigns and the political advertising are coming to Florida.

Chabeli Herrera

If Latin America gets the economic flu, could South Florida catch a cold? The regional economy is closely linked to South America. Brazil is in the second year of an economic recession. Venezuela is in an economic depression and Colombia's economy has slowed down.

 

Hear from four South American capitals about economic optimism despite the steep drop in copper prices in Chile and Peru,  the hopefulness in Colombia after a few sluggish years and  the deep depression in Venezuela.

 

Tom Hudson

  Nobody would give Ian MacDonald a job when he came to Fort Lauderdale more than 30 years ago, so he says he started a company.

 

MacDonald was born in England, raised in Nigeria and now runs a company that makes underwater lights for boats.  Today, he has 11 employees, nine of whom are based in Fort Lauderdale. The combination sales office, showroom, and assembly area is in a small industrial park cradled in the northeast corner of the I-95/ I-595 exchange.

 

courtsey

When one thinks of real estate in South Florida, one probably thinks of the housing market. That wouldn’t be wrong, but the other big slice of real estate -- and one with the cranes and big construction projects -- is coming off a big year.  Last year South Florida saw more than a dozen commercial real estate deals of more than $100 million dollars.  Billions of dollars of office buildings, condo buildings, shopping malls and warehouses were bought and sold throughout the region. Can the boom continue?

Alyssa Mendez Batista

Florida leads the nation again for the number of people signing up for individual health insurance -- Obamacare.  Over the first five weeks of open enrollment this fall, 600,000 Floridians signed up. That's about half the total number of people expected to sign up once all of the enrollment periods expire.

Chabeli Herrera

Next week, something may happen for the U.S. economy that hasn’t happened in more than a decade -- the Federal Reserve could raise its target interest rate. It’s not expected to be a big hike, but with the job market adding work and wages slowing increasing, the Fed is growing more confident in the American economy. To hear how higher interest rates could affect jobs, paychecks and housing in South Florida, we spoke with Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Tom Hudson

When Art Basel first came to Miami Beach phones weren’t smart, Latin American economies were just beginning to pull themselves out of economic crises and South Florida’s creative reputation -- for most people -- was limited to pastels on a canceled network television show or supermodels on the beach.

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