As the health care overhaul moves ahead, the nation's health insurers are scrambling to reinvent themselves, hoping to boost their image and entice millions of Americans to enroll, some for the first time. The new customers will mostly shop for and buy their own insurance — a different and harder-to-reach group than the industry's traditional employer clients. [Source: Kaiser Health News]
At this story, you'll find what you need to know when you cut through the hype about the expanding of the Panama Canal.
Florida is that rare state with a trade surplus; thanks largely to south Florida, it exports more than it imports. Florida’s 15 deep-water ports plan to spend $2.6 billion over five years deepening their channels, adding cranes, dockside rail and other infrastructure to better position themselves to capture the cargo traffic and the good-paying jobs that trade generates. Part of the building boom is focused on giant ships that will begin transiting a wider Panama Canal in 2015. Read the full analysis of what the canal expansion will mean for Florida.
Florida employs 530,671 people in trade and logistics, including air, rail, water and truck transportation, pipelines and warehousing. The top five counties for trade traffic are Miami-Dade, Duval, Hillsborough, Polk and Broward. Read our full rundown of Florida trade stats and Florida's Seaports, Airports and Foreign Trade Zones by-the-numbers
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Topic: Florida-Colombia Trade Links
Gas prices continue to be flat at the start of December and experts say it's likely prices will remain relatively flat until the New Year. "Although gas prices are forecast to remain relatively stable throughout the month, if a plan is announced to resolve the nation's debt issues, we could see gas prices inch back up,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
A state cost-cutting proposal that would shift about 5,600 inmates from state prisons to county jails would blow a $100-million hole in the budgets of counties already suffering from revenue losses in a down economy, according to the Florida Association of Counties. And that has many county officials, who say they can't afford – or, in some cases, physically house – more inmates in their jails, on high alert. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› University of Florida moves up in national rankings for research spending [Gainesville Business Report]
A new report from the National Science Foundation shows the University of Florida jumped from 14th to 12th in a national ranking of research and development spending at the top 30 public universities in 2011. Nationally, universities increased their expenditures for research and development by 4 percent between the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years. UF beat the national average, increasing its research expenditures by 8.5%.
› Training-simulation trade show looks for record year [Orlando Sentinel]
Despite jitters over the potential for "fiscal cliff" cuts in U.S. military spending, the training-simulation's industry's largest trade show is in Orlando this week for what organizers hope will be the biggest show in its history.
› Street art brings life to a Miami neighborhood [NPR]
One of the nation's largest art fairs, Art Basel, opens this week in Miami. But days before the fair launches in Miami Beach, the party had already started across the bridge, in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.
› Maitland's Digital Risk to be acquired by HP subsidiary [Orlando Sentinel]
In a deal worth at least $175 million, an Indian subsidiary of the Hewlett-Packard Company has agreed to acquire Digital Risk LLC, one of Central Florida's fastest growing high-tech companies in recent years.
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› Holiday tradition continues with foreclosure freeze [Palm Beach Post]
Federal mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced this morning they won’t evict families from foreclosed homes during the holidays. For Fannie Mae, the suspension on evicting homeowners in foreclosed homes will be from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2. Freddie Mac’s suspension dates are from Dec. 17 through Jan. 2.
› Scientists still learning from Deepwater Horizon disaster [Tampa Bay Times]
On Monday, more than two years after the oil spill, some of the nation's top scientists — including the heads of three government agencies —- published a comprehensive review of the scientific response to the disaster. One thing they found is that they still don't know nearly enough about the Gulf of Mexico to say how the spill affected it or how to be prepared for another.
› Strong November puts U.S. automakers on pace for 5-year high [Orlando Sentinel]
U.S. auto sales in November were helped by a rebound from storm-ravaged October and the need to replace aging vehicles, which put the industry on pace for a near five-year high and left executives optimistic about 2013.
› LeBron James named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
From villain and traitor, the transformation is complete. A year that produced his first NBA championship and later an Olympic gold medal is ending with LeBron James at the top of the sporting world by at least one account.