500,000 Floridians could lose health coverage without tax credits
More than 500,000 Floridians could lose their health insurance if Congress fails to extend tax credits passed through the American Rescue Plan Act, a new report warns. The tax credits dramatically lowered premiums for millions of Florida families who this year obtained their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. But those subsidies will expire at the end of this year as attempts by Congress to extend them have stalled. If lawmakers cannot reach an agreement, premiums could rise by 53% in 2023, forcing millions of Americans to go without health insurance. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida's Medicaid agency sets stage to deny transgender treatments
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration issued a report Thursday that could set the stage for the Medicaid program to deny coverage for treatments such as puberty-blocking medication and hormone therapy for transgender people. The report was the second time in less than two months that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has taken aim at such treatments: The Florida Department of Health in April said the treatments should not be used for transgender youths. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida sees signs of a COVID surge, but hospitals coping so far
There are plenty of warning signs that Florida may be in the grip of another COVID-19 surge. More than three-quarters of Floridians live in counties at “high” risk of COVID-19, according to federal data released Thursday. Last week, half the state’s residents lived in high-risk areas. That means residents should all wear masks in public indoor spaces, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and get tested if they have symptoms. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida among nine states involved in monkeypox outbreak
According to Friday's latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox has been reported in nine U.S. states, including Florida. Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official, said the overall health risk to the public remains low right now as the outbreak spreads in the U.S. The reported cases in Florida are specific to Broward County, though whether they could be connected is unknown at this time. [Source: NBC Miami]
Publix has ended its free prescription program. The company’s pharmacies on Wednesday stopped providing customers with free prescriptions for some medications. The program had been in place for 15 years but company officials announced in March that it would end on June 1. Since 2007, Publix has provided more than 100 million free prescription drugs to customers at its 1,200 pharmacies. The program provided certain oral antibiotics along with blood pressure and diabetes medications. [Source: Health News Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Health workers share creative works in a special event at Tampa's performing arts center [WUSF]
Health care workers are sharing literary, visual and performance art in a special event at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Called Reflejos: Artistic Reflections of Health Care Providers, it will feature the creative works of doctors and nurses with the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital. “Reflejos” is Spanish for “reflections.”
› Florida State University, Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare partner to construct health center [WTXL]
Florida State University and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare announced Thursday a new partnership to build the FSU Health Tallahassee Center. The academic health center is being funded with $125 million from the Florida Legislature. The five floor, 130,000 square foot facility will be located on the TMH campus and include educational, medical and research laboratory space. FSU President Richard McCullough says the new facility will improve both the university and Tallahassee's healthcare.
› Florida health care providers challenge state’s 15-week abortion ban [The Hill]
A group of Florida health care providers filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the state’s 15-week abortion law, which will go into effect next month. The legislation, signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in April, will go into effect on July 1. The law will ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy and doesn’t include exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.
› Special Olympics drops its COVID vaccine requirement after Florida threatens a $27.5 million fine [Health News Florida]
The Special Olympics has dropped a COVID vaccine mandate for its USA Games in Orlando this week after Florida moved to fine the organization $27.5 million for violating a state law against such requirements. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced the organization had removed the requirement for its competition, which runs through June 12.