health care

Federal health advisers recommended approval Tuesday for an experimental implant designed to treat patients recovering from heroin and painkiller addiction.

Jan. 15 is the last day to sign up on for a plan that starts Feb. 1.  The deadline is key for avoiding tax penalties under the federal health law.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Sherice Bennett is a caretaker.

She takes care of her sister who has cerebral palsy. She had two sons, two dogs and she still has the tank that used to house her turtle and fish.

It’s a role she happily fills on top of the other roles she’s taken on over the years: call center coordinator, caterer, accounts payable, executive secretary and, when that failed, school bus and truck driver.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Florida State Rep. Carlos Trujillo is in the middle of some pressing and controversial issues this legislative session.

The South Florida Republican sponsored one bill that would close a health insurance gap and another that would make it illegal for people who have been deported to come back into Florida.

And before session even started, he took heat from the gun lobby for his position on a Stand Your Ground bill.

Trujillo sat down in his Tallahassee office on the first day of session to talk about his expectations this year and what that means for Floridians:

Steve Cannon / AP

To the surprise and delight of lawmakers who have long backed the proposal, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Tuesday called for eliminating a five-year waiting period for children of legal immigrants to be eligible for the state's KidCare health-insurance program.

"I got goose bumps," said Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a Miami Republican who has backed the proposal throughout his House tenure. "This has been a long time coming."

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Linda Quick has been a force in Florida health care policy for decades.

Quick—who was born at Coral Gables Hospital—spent 40 years working in health care. The past two decades of that were with the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, which represents hundreds of hospitals and health-care businesses on legislative and industry issues.

Quick has had an insider’s view of some of the biggest policy and economic events affecting the health of Floridians.

And as of January, she’s retired.

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.

The latest numbers from federal health officials show Florida is continuing to lead in enrollment on, with nearly 600,000 who have signed up so far.

Republicans are pushing toward Senate approval of legislation demolishing President Barack Obama's signature health care law and halting Planned Parenthood's federal money, setting up a veto fight the GOP knows it will lose but thinks will delight conservative voters.

The deadline to get health insurance under Obamacare for the start of 2016 is less than two weeks away, and Floridians are by far the largest group of consumers signing up for plans.

courtesy Laura Brennaman

Not long after Sherry Poulin married her husband Louis last year, the newlyweds sat in their kitchen with health insurance information laid out in front of them.

“We were like, this is just not, this is not do-able,” says Sherry.

Before getting married, Poulin paid $50 a month for a subsidized plan through Obamacare. Now, for a plan offered through her husband’s employer, she was looking at about $500 a month.

Poulin married into what’s known as the “family glitch”: when she got married, she lost her subsidy to buy insurance in the individual marketplace.

Baitong333 /


Florida legislators have been grappling with the problem of balance billing—also known as “surprise billing”—and now the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a broader rule aimed at fixing the issue.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

It’s a bustling morning in terminal D at  Miami International Airport and 11-year-old Jonathan Mizrachi is checking in for his flight.  

“I’d like to go to Paris,” he tells the agent at the counter.

He’s not actually going to Paris. That’s make-believe. But everything else about his travel through the airport on this day is real: a TSA screening, gate agents, flight crew, boarding and eventually de-planing.

Miami Dade College

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.