Capital Report: 01-11-2013

Jan 14, 2013

Following the tragic school shooting in Newton Connecticut, Florida leaders are looking for answers about how to keep something like that from happening in their home-towns, but Regan McCarthy reports those answers span everything from tighter gun regulation to more guns in more citizens hands.

Capital Report: Constitutional Amendments

Sep 14, 2012

This November Florida voter will have to decide more than just who they want to be the next President of the United States. They’ll also have to choose whether to add up to 12 different amendments to Florida’s Constitution. The proposals cover everything from how education dollars are spent, to who gets additional property tax exemptions. And for tonight Lynn Hatter reports the first thing voters will be asked is to choose, how far government should go when deciding healthcare issues?

Now that the federal healthcare reform law has passed U.S. Supreme Court muster, how might that affect the future of healthcare in Florida?  That was the question a state insurance panel debated this week. Several predictions were tossed around: None of them good, and all of them uncertain.

The formal name for the panel is the Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board.  State Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, who chairs the group, said there was one overriding purpose for the meeting.

Capital Report: 07-06-2012

Jul 6, 2012

While the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal healthcare overhaul law, the fight over it is far from over. Many questions about President Barack Obama’s signature legislation remain—like who will be covered under the Affordable Care Act? Who will have to buy insurance, and, will it bring down costs? Lynn Hatter reports the results may be just as complex as the law itself.

Capital Report: 06-29-2012

Jun 29, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key part of President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law, the requirement that most people carry health insurance or pay a fine—or, in the court’s words, a tax. In ruling the so-called individual mandate constitutional, the high court thwarted the efforts of several states, including Florida, to block it. But as Lynn Hatter reports, the outcome of the case has Florida’s Republican leaders scrambling to figure out what to do next. 

Florida’s Chief Economist told members of a higher education task force that the state’s job outlook will improve, but it will also come with challenges from changing demographics.  Amy Baker says an aging population will open up more opportunities and problems for the state’s future graduates.

Baker says that by the time the baby boom generation fully retires, around the year 2030, Florida’s worker needs will have dramatically changed. Leading the job growth will be the healthcare industry, and transportation.

Last year, reports of abuse and neglect in Florida’s assisted living industry prompted Governor Rick Scott to create a task force. The work from that group, coupled with a Grand Jury Report, formed the base of a series of reform bills that died in past legislative session. Now the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and its Secretary Charles Corley are trying to solve the issues by making rules.

Capital Report: 06-01-2012

Jun 1, 2012

Today marks the start of hurricane season, and officials are reminding Floridians of the importance of getting prepared by knowing evacuation routes, having a plan for their pets and making sure they have supplies on hand. But Regan McCarthy reports some say one thing citizens might not be prepared for is the potential insurance policy assessments they could receive if a storm does hit. 

Capital Report: 03-30-2012

Mar 30, 2012

The fate of President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law is now up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices are beginning to weigh the merits of an historic three days’ worth of testimony for and against the Affordable Care Act. Lynn Hatter reports Florida had a front-row seat to the proceedings, as the state led 25-others in challenging the law.

Members of the Government Efficiency Taskforce on Health and Human services are setting an agenda for trimming the fat in the coming year. Regan McCarthy has more….

The Government Efficiency Taskforce on Health and Human services is looking for cost savings in areas like state employee health care. The group will compare Florida’s plans with other states and the private sector. And task force Staff Director Jeffery Woodburn says the group will also consider several criminal justice issues.

House lawmakers are considering a measure that would make a number of revisions in the state’s healthcare laws, but Regan McCarthy reports, after a long debate, Representatives are taking out one of the most controversial provisions in the bill—a proposal to get rid of the state’s limits on  trauma centers.

 The Florida Senate and House could begin budget negotiations this week.  Leaders have held informal talks about the differences between the two proposed spending plans.  James Call reports, the Senate’s top budget writer says there are a couple of issues that need to be resolved before a conference committee will be appointed to finalize the state spending plan for next year.

Florida Democrats are voicing their displeasure with several budget cutting proposals under consideration before the full chamber. Republicans have a veto-proof majority in the legislature, but as Lynn Hatter reports, that didn’t stop the minority party from launching a series of criticisms --thinly disguised as questions— to try and poke holes in the Houses healthcare budget plans.

A Tallahassee hospice throws a chocolate-based bash this Saturday.  Tom Flanigan reports the proceeds will help families who otherwise wouldn’t have access to end-of-life services.

Lydia Claire Brooks is with Covenant Hospice.  It came to Tallahassee in 2003.

Last year, Florida lawmakers didn’t approve a bill giving all state workers the same contribution for their health coverage.  But Tom Flanigan reports that bill may be more successful this year.

Governor Rick Scott had pushed the idea almost from the moment he took office.  All State of Florida employees would get five thousand dollars a year to help them buy health insurance, whether individual or family coverage.   That concept resurfaced in the House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Robert Schenck, Republican of Spring Hill.  

The House and Senate are poised to clash over funding for the state’s health and human services. The House finance committee has approved a plan to slash more than 800-million from healthcare, while the Senate cuts fewer dollars. And as Lynn Hatter reports, neither budget comes close to the $2 billion mark Governor Rick Scott proposed in his state spending plan.

“Today I’m here to deliver one message. Healthcare Cuts don’t heal, they’re permanent.”


There’s a Florida law that’s setup to clamp down on health care fraud. But, it’s causing one woman to put her dream to be a nurse on hold. As Sascha Cordner reports, one lawmaker has filed a new bill that if passed, could give the woman a second chance at her dream.

It began as a comprehensive law to fight health care fraud. But, Democratic Senator Arthenia Joyner of Tampa says that legislation passed two years ago has unintended consequences. That’s why she filed a bill to help those who want to become licensed health care professionals, but have a felony record.