President Obama on Tuesday appointed one of his top management gurus, Jeffrey Zeints, to head the team working to fix what ails HealthCare.gov, the troubled website that's supposed to allow residents of 36 states to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Thousands of low-income seniors in Southwest Florida and areas of the East Coast are poised this weekend to become part of the state's long-debated shift to a Medicaid managed-care system.
The change, which will take effect Sunday, will involve an estimated 13,450 people in 12 counties who need long-term care --- most of them seniors. It is part of a gradual move that ultimately will lead to almost all Florida Medicaid beneficiaries enrolling in HMOs or other types of managed-care plans.
More than two years after Florida lawmakers passed a controversial plan to transform the Medicaid system, it's showtime.
As of Thursday, about 9,300 central Florida residents who need long-term care --- the vast majority of them seniors --- will become the first participants in a statewide move to enroll almost all Medicaid beneficiaries in HMOs and other types of managed-care plans.
Families soon will be able to sign up for new health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Cheryl Focht of Mary's Center performs a checkup of Jayson Gonzalez, 16, while his mother, Elizabeth Lopez, looks on.
The biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are set to begin less than three months from now. Oct. 1 is when people can start signing up for coverage in new state health exchanges. The policies would kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.
It can all be a little confusing, we agree. So two weeks ago, we asked what you wanted to know about the health law.
Andrea Velandia, 29, is just the sort of person the architects of the new health insurance marketplaces had in mind when they were thinking about future customers.
She's young, in good health, uninsured and Latino.
"We're very healthy. We don't have many issues," she says of her family. For the most part, she and her husband avoid the health system. "It's very expensive to go to the doctor to get a regular checkup," she says. "And you only have an option to go to the emergency room, which is even more expensive."
When the blood pressure drug Bystolic hit the market in 2008, it faced a crowded field of cheap generics.
So its maker, Forest Laboratories, launched a promotional assault on the group in the best position to determine Bystolic's success: those in control of prescription pads. It flooded the offices of health professionals with drug reps, and it hired doctors to persuade their peers to choose Bystolic — even though the drug hadn't proved more effective than competitors.
This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.
But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.
Speaker Will Weatherford introduced a new member of the Florida House this week.
“Members, we have an auto-reader. We had it in the closet just in case we ever had to actually read the bills,” Weatherford said amid laughs from the chamber. “It may be a little bit faster than normal.”
Weatherford's communications director announced on Twitter that the auto-reader's name is Mary.
As lawmakers react to the Boston Marathon bombings, parts of the Capitol had to be evacuated after suspicious letters addressed to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and President Barack Obama were intercepted at mail screening facilities.
While dealing with that scare, members of Congress are getting their first look at a proposal for immigration reform put forth by the so-called "Gang of Eight" Senators including Florida's freshman Republican Marco Rubio.
When they voted on Medicaid expansion in Florida this month, Florida legislative leaders mostly organized along party lines. Now, the Republicans are getting heat from their Democratic counterparts in the House.