Florida Is Key Battleground In Presidential Contest

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Women’s Health, Medicaid, Politics, States

Oct 19, 2012

A recent poll shows GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney doing well among key groups in the Sunshine State, including with older voters, which is considered notable because of his proposal to overhaul Medicare. Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, President Barack Obama continues to offer warnings regarding GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s positions on abortion and women’s health issues.

The Wall Street Journal: Candidates Flock To Florida, Coveting Electoral Votes
Polls show Mr. Romney doing well among some key groups. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist Poll, he led by large margins among men, whites and Cuban-Americans, and by a narrower one among independents. Mr. Romney also led by nine percentage points among likely voters age 60 and older. That lead is notable, given his controversial proposal to overhaul Medicare for future retirees (Campo-Flores, 10/18).

ABC: Obama Warns Women Of Losing ‘Health Care Choices’
As the battle for undecided women voters intensifies, President Obama today warned that Republican nominee Mitt Romney would give more control over women’s “health care choices” to their employers and politicians if he becomes president (Dwyer, 10/18).

The Hill: Obama Ad Highlights Romney ‘Delighted’ Remark On Abortion Ban
The Obama campaign is out with a new ad highlighting Mitt Romney’s 2007 comment that he would be “delighted” as president to sign a bill banning all abortions if it was supported by most of the country. The attack comes the day after Romney released an ad of his own that said he would allow abortions in cases of rape and incest, or to save a mother’s life. Abortion has moved to the forefront as both campaigns battle for the advantage with female voters, a crucial bloc that has been trending toward Romney since the first presidential debate in early November (Viebeck, 10/18).

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the V...

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the Values Voters conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Study Finds Weight Loss Doesn’t Lower Heart Risks For Diabetics

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (Photo credit: Community Eye Health)

Topics: Public Health

Oct 20, 2012

The New York Times: Diabetes Study Ends Early With A Surprising Result
A large federal study of whether diet and weight loss can prevent heart attacks and strokes in overweight and obese people with Type 2 diabetes has ended two years ahead of schedule because the intensive program did not help (Kolata, 10/19).

The Washington Post: Moderate Weight Loss Alone Doesn’t Lower Heart Disease Risk In Diabetics, Study Shows
Losing a small amount of weight doesn’t appear to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes in people with diabetes who are already getting good medical care, according to a long and expensive clinical experiment whose results were announced Friday. While modest weight loss has benefits in how overweight diabetics feel, sleep and move, whatever benefit it may confer in preventing cardiovascular disease — which is what most diabetics die from — is too small to measure, the study found (Brown, 10/19).

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus (Photo credit: rosmary)

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Congressman’s Comments On Abortion Set Off Dispute With Medical Experts

Topics: Women’s Health, Public Health

Oct 20, 2012

Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., said after a debate Thursday that abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother. Women’s groups and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists quickly blasted his comments.

The Chicago Tribune: Walsh Abortion Comments Ignite Firestorm
The focus of a fierce suburban congressional battle turned from the economy to abortion literally overnight following Republican Rep. Joe Walsh’s controversial declaration that there’s no medical necessity to use the procedure to save a woman’s life. “With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance,” Walsh declared in comments to reporters after a televised debate Thursday night against Democrat Tammy Duckworth in the northwest suburban 8th District race. By Friday those comments had created a firestorm, and tea party icon Walsh was in damage-control mode. At a hastily called news conference, the freshman congressman backed off that sweeping assertion, slightly, acknowledging “very rare circumstances” where lifesaving abortions might be required (Secter and Shelton, 10/19).

The Hill: Rep. Joe Walsh Edges Away From Controversial Remark About Abortion
On Friday, at a press conference, Walsh moderated his previous comment when he said abortions are “often” not necessary to save women. “When it comes to having an abortion to save the life of the mother, I will say again that outside of the very rare circumstances, such as ectopic pregnancies, during which both the mother and baby will die if the baby is not aborted, and other rare health issues and circumstances, the research is pretty clear that with the advances in modern medicine an invasive and traumatic procedure like abortion is often, thankfully, not necessary to save the life of a mother,” Walsh said (Viebeck, 10/19).

Los Angeles Times: Doctors Dispute ‘Inaccurate’ Abortion Claim From Rep. Joe Walsh
Abortion rights were back in the news Friday, even as President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stepped up their efforts to win the women’s vote. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who is facing a tough race to retain his seat in Congress, told reporters Thursday that he was opposed to abortion under any circumstances — and that thanks to medical progress, “you can’t find one instance” when it might be necessary to perform an abortion to protect a woman’s health. … Within hours, women’s heath advocates — and physicians — attacked his remarks (Brown, 10/19).

Bloomberg Businessweek: House Republican Says Abortion Not Needed to Save Lives
“There’s no such exception as life of the mother,” Walsh said to reporters after a debate yesterday. “And as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions any time, under any reason.” Walsh, who was supported in his 2010 victory by the anti- tax Tea Party movement, faces Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth … He’s defending his House seat representing Illinois’ 8th District, which includes suburbs of Chicago (Tiron and Deprez, 10/19).

ABC News: Rep. Walsh Says No Need for Abortion to Save Mother’s Life
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said remarks like Walsh’s are one of their reasons they feel politicians need to “get out of our exam rooms. Contrary to the inaccurate statements made yesterday by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health,” the College wrote in a statement (Parnass, 10/19).

Politico: Medical Experts Say Abortions Still Needed Despite Advances
“Unfortunately, pregnancy is not a risk-free life event, particularly for many women with chronic medical conditions. Despite all of our medical advances, more than 600 women die each year from pregnancy- and childbirth-related reasons right here in the US. In fact, many more women would die each year if they did not have access to abortion to protect their health or to save their lives,” [ACOG wrote] (Haberkorn, 10/19).

Roll Call: NRCC Has No Plans to Dump Joe Walsh
The National Republican Congressional Committee has no plans to cancel an ad reservation supporting Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.), despite remarks made Thursday night that pregnancy never threatens the health or life of a woman. … A spokeswoman for the NRCC, which has committed more than $450,000 for cable ads in the Chicagoland area, said the group will not cancel its buy through the election (Shiner, 10/19).

English: Portrait of U.S. Representative Joe W...

English: Portrait of U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Seniors Satisfied With Medicare, Anxious About Future, Survey Finds

By Alvin Tran

October 18th, 2012, 4:11 PM

Although most seniors appear to be at least somewhat satisfied with their Medicare coverage, many are deeply worried about what the future may hold for the program, according to a national survey released this week.

More than 60 percent of seniors surveyed said they are concerned about changes the program may undergo.

The poll, commissioned by Allsup, an Illinois-based, Social Security disability claims representation company, found that 89 percent of seniors are extremely or somewhat satisfied with the coverage they currently have through Medicare.

“Fifty million Americans are relying on the program and they’re very satisfied with it,” said Rebecca Ray, a representative from Allsup. “They like the current version. They like the version they’re receiving now.”

The  findings were not a surprise given the current state of politics, according to Mary Dale Walters, Allsup’s Senior Vice President.


Most seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income, and each year there is a modest cost-of-living increase – for example, next year’s increase of 1.7 percent will result in about $227 more in their Social Security checks, she said in an email.

“Many seniors experience much higher increases in their healthcare costs when you factor in premiums, co-pays and deductibles, and we are living longer,”  she said. “So, having Medicare benefits trimmed back is very concerning to them.” The survey also found that about 71 percent were willing to shoulder increased costs to preserve their current coverage. This willingness was usually linked to satisfaction.

“It was somewhat surprising how many seniors would be willing to pay more for Medicare,” Walters added. “That, I think, underscores just how concerned they are about Medicare’s future.”

Seniors also told pollsters that their ability to pay for longterm care was a big worry. These issues are “very critical to them,” Ray added.

English: In the United States, Medicare benefi...

English: In the United States, Medicare benefits compared for younger vs. older workers. According to author Joseph Fried, this graphic uses information from: C. Eugene Steuerle and Adam Carasso, “The USA Today Lifetime Social Security and Medicare Benefits Calculator,” (Urban Institute, October 1, 2004), from: http://www.urban.org/publications/900746.html. Note: The calculator does not include the value or cost of the Social Security disability program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The poll of 1,000 seniors was conducted by Richard Day Research between July 5 and 11 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. Only individuals 65 years and older who currently have Medicare coverage were surveyed.

Obama, Romney Vie For Women’s Votes

Romney Bus

Romney Bus (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, 2008 US presidential candidate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Women’s Health, Politics, Health Reform

Oct 18, 2012

Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney battled for the support of female voters Wednesday with new ads and arguments on the campaign trail related to women’s health care, underscoring the importance of undecided female voters in a tight race.

New York Times: Rival Campaigns Intently Pursue Votes of Women
Shortly after the combative presidential debate on Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s campaign began running a striking new commercial that uses a former Obama supporter to contest the notion that Mr. Romney’s positions on abortion and contraception are “extreme.” Before dawn Wednesday, Democrats had taken to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and television to ridicule Mr. Romney’s debate-night statement that he had collected “binders full of women” when he was a new governor in Massachusetts seeking “qualified” female appointees for his administration. … The level of intensity left little doubt that the election was coming down not only to a state-by-state fight for territory, but also to one for the allegiance of vital demographic groups, chief among them undecided women (Rutenberg and Peters).

Los Angeles Times: Obama And Romney Fight For Female Vote
Picking up where their contentious debate left off, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney battled Wednesday for the support of female voters, underscoring their potentially decisive role in settling the fiercely competitive race. Buoyed by a much-improved performance Tuesday night, Obama traveled to the swing state of Iowa, where he renewed his attacks on Romney for proposing an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and again touted legislation he signed making it easier for women to sue for job discrimination (Parsons and Mehta, 10/17).

NPR: Romney Tries To Soften Birth Control Message
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been firmly anti-abortion during this campaign. But during Tuesday’s debate on Long Island, N.Y., Romney charged that President Obama misrepresented his position on birth control. … Romney didn’t directly address the Planned Parenthood issue — though he has said repeatedly he wants it defunded. But he did complain about what Obama seemed to be implying (Rovner, 10/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Candidates Zero In On Women Voters
The focus of the presidential race shifted Wednesday to women voters, as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney carried their argument over women’s health care and job opportunities from Tuesday’s combative debate onto the campaign trail and TV airwaves (Meckler and Lee, 10/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: On Women, Taxes, Hispanics, Romney Primary Message Shifts As Election Day Nears
On immigration, taxes and women’s issues, Mitt Romney is abandoning his “severely conservative” talk of the Republican primary season and moving sharply to the political center as he looks to sway on-the-fence voters in the campaign’s final three weeks. … Romney’s opposition to Planned Parenthood was a common theme during the primary, and Obama hammered the Republican on Tuesday over his plan to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, the network of clinics that provide women’s health care and also provide abortion services (10/17).

The Washington Post: Obama Hammers Away At Romney’s Changing Positions On Women’s Health Issues
At a moment when women are seen as increasingly crucial to the outcome of the election, Romney is trying to build on gains he has made in recent polls. He also is trying to reverse the advantage that President Obama has built this year in part by hammering at Romney’s many statements on women’s health issues during the Republican primary season, when the GOP candidate described himself as “severely conservative.” Obama’s campaign quickly seized on the latest ad as another example of Romney’s effort to erase the conservative stands he took during the GOP primaries (Gardner, 10/17).

The Hill: Obama Touts Contraception Policy Amid Post-Debate Focus On Women
President Obama touted his administration’s contraception mandate Wednesday as he sought to capitalize on Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” remark. Democrats clearly saw Romney’s remarks as a chance to re-open a dwindling gender gap. And while they aggressively attacked Romney over directly related issues such as equal pay, Obama also tied in contraception during a campaign stop in Iowa. “I don’t think your boss should control the healthcare you get,” Obama said. “I don’t think insurers should control the healthcare you get. I certainly don’t think politicians should control the healthcare you get” (Baker, 10/17).

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

In Face-Off, Obama And Romney Rumble Over A Range Of Issues

English: President Barack Obama autographs a S...

English: President Barack Obama autographs a Singing Cadets poster during a visit with former President George H. W. Bush, following the Points of Light forum at Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas, Oct. 16, 2009. In the mirror, Reggie Love, personal aide of President Obama and Robert Gates, secretary of Defence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Women’s Health, Politics, Health Reform

Oct 17, 2012

News outlets examine how each candidate fared in Tuesday night’s town-hall style debate. In general, many media sources note how little discussion surrounded issues related to Medicare and the health law.

The New York Times: Rivals Bring Bare Fists To Rematch
President Obama and Mitt Romney engaged Tuesday in one of the most intensive clashes in a televised presidential debate, with tensions between them spilling out in interruptions, personal rebukes and accusations of lying as they parried over the last four years under Mr. Obama and what the next four would look like under a President Romney (Rutenberg and Zeleny, 10/16).

Los Angeles Times: A Sharper Tone In Second Presidential Debate
In a town-hall-style debate that was supposed to focus on questions from ordinary voters, President Obama and Mitt Romney circled each other on the stage and engaged in finger-pointing displays. … But Romney also appeared to contradict himself when he stated that all women should have access to contraception, though he supported an amendment in Congress that would allow employers to deny birth-control coverage to their workers. … Obama’s wide-ranging assault — on everything from Romney’s personal tax rate, his comments about “the 47%” and his work as a venture capitalist, to his policies on taxation, immigration, contraception and healthcare — were studded with specific details designed to portray the Republican challenger as an avatar of the wealthy (West and Mehta, 10/16).

The Wall Street Journal: Candidates Tangle In Fractious Debate
Mr. Romney distilled his argument against the president to a simple theme: The country can’t afford four more years under Mr. Obama. … The candidates fielded a range of questions from undecided voters, selected by the Gallup Organization polling company, in a 90-minute debate at Hofstra University on New York’s Long Island. Mr. Obama took on Mr. Romney’s positions on taxes, trade, energy and women’s health issues in an attempt to cast him as more conservative than the GOP candidate has suggested in recent days (Lee, Hook and O’Connor, 10/17).

The Washington Post: With Stakes High, Obama Hits Back At Romney In A Fiery Second Debate
A far more aggressive President Obama showed up for his second debate with Mitt Romney on Tuesday, and at moments their town-hall-style engagement felt more like a shouting match than a presidential debate. … The debate, which was framed by questions from the audience, ranged into topics that had not been broached in any depth at the earlier one — including immigration, women’s issues, gun control and foreign policy (Tumulty and Rucker, 10/17).

Los Angeles Times: Energized Obama Takes Aggressive Approach In Second Debate
Each man aimed comments directly at voters that are key to their election efforts. Obama offered a long list of policies that his administration has designed to help women in the workplace and said Romney’s plans would deprive many working women of contraceptive coverage on their health plans, something Romney denied (Lauter, 10/16).

Reuters: Obama Casts Romney As Extremist On Medicare, Women’s Health
President Barack Obama, long accused by Republicans of pursuing a socialist agenda on healthcare and other policies, tried to cast his Republican rival Mitt Romney as an extremist on Medicare and women’s health issues in their debate on Tuesday. Obama went after Romney in response a question from the audience about what distinguished the former Massachusetts governor’s positions from those of another Republican, former President George W. Bush (Morgan, 10/17).

Modern Healthcare: Healthcare Takes A Backseat In Second Presidential Debate
A prominent feature of the first presidential debate, healthcare was barely mentioned Tuesday night in President Barack Obama’s and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s arguments that focused heavily on other domestic issues such as jobs, taxes, energy and immigration policy.  The two candidates addressed voters in a 90-minute town hall format at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., three weeks before Election Day in the second of three presidential debates and the last to focus on both domestic and foreign policy (Zigmond, 10/17).

The Hill: Medicare, Obama Health Law Get Short Debate Time
Healthcare issues received little attention in Tuesday night’s debate as President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney sparred over energy, tax and immigration policy. Medicare and Obama’s healthcare law did not arise until nearly halfway through the 90-minute match-up at Hofstra University in New York state, and even then, it didn’t receive specific questions from the town-hall audience. Obama and Romney responded by inserting their own healthcare attacks, but the second debate still represented a marked departure from the first, where “ObamaCare” and Medicare were among the event’s top buzzwords (Viebeck, 10/17).

Politico Pro: Obama, Romney Hit Only Some Health Points
President Barack Obama was able to cross a couple of big items off of his health care checklist Tuesday night. Hit Mitt Romney on contraception and win women voters? Check. Remind voters that “Obamacare” is based on “Romneycare”? Check. Make Romney explain his pre-existing conditions policy? Nope — that one never came up. And Romney scored some points of his own at the Hofstra University debate — mentioning several times that Obama’s health care law is a threat to small employers and a drag on businesses’ hiring. And Obama’s promise that health care reform would lower families’ costs by $2,500? Romney took aim at that huge target and fired (Nather, 10/16).

Medpage Today: Second Debate Light On Health Topics
The issue of healthcare was never directly asked about during a 90-minute town hall-style presidential debate Tuesday night, but that didn’t stop it from creeping into the discussion. On several occasions, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney interjected their talking points on healthcare in their second debate, which was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The first mention of healthcare came more than 30 minutes into the debate on a question about equal pay for women. Obama seized the opportunity to tout copayment-free contraceptive coverage for women and preventative services for all, two elements of the Affordable Care Act (Pittman, 10/16).

The Medicare NewsGroup: Media Sentiment Toward Romney Is Up, While Obama Remains Slightly Negative, on the Topic of Medicare
In the lead-up to the vice presidential debate on October 11, and during the days that followed, mainstream media, bloggers and social media mavens expressed sentiment toward Obama and Romney that was virtually neutral. But then, attitudes toward Obama rose slightly while those toward Romney dipped into the negative. The week ended with a reversal: Romney spiked into the positive and Obama dipped slightly negative. Despite that small shift, opinions toward the candidates and their ties to Medicare were mainly negative or neutral during the second week of October, according to sentiment measured by Appinions, an influence marketing platform company (Sjoerdsma, 10/16).


Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Houston Hit Hard In Latest Medicare Fraud Bust

By Carrie Feibel, KUHF

October 17th, 2012, 6:00 AM


When federal law enforcement agents swept through seven U.S. cities earlier this month to arrest more than 91 doctors, nurses and others for Medicare fraud, one of their targets was Houston. For the Bayou City, it was the latest in a disturbing series of revelations about health care fraud there.

A picture has emerged in Houston of kickbacks and schemes to steer patients between group homes and outpatient mental health clinics offering “partial hospitalization” programs that bill Medicare.  The clinics often operate out of strip-mall storefronts or even single-family suburban homes.

A Houston Chronicle investigation last year noted that more than 75 percent of all Medicare spending in Texas on outpatient psychiatric programs is flowing into just one county: Harris County, where Houston is located.

Private ambulance companies in Houston also bill Medicare to ferry the patients back and forth. The Chronicle questioned the lack of oversight for the clinics and the medical necessity of the ambulance rides. Series reporter Terri Langford revealed that private ambulance operators in Harris County billed Medicare in 2009 almost nine times as much as companies in New York City.

“I’m more struck by why didn’t someone catch these things in the first place,” said Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. “When you find so many additional ambulance rides going on. Or how is it that a home health care agency can bill for several million dollars and no one realizes the care isn’t legitimate?”

The October arrests ensnared leaders of an historic hospital that once served Houston’s African American community. Riverside General Hospital was once the Houston Negro Hospital – but now specializes in the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse.

The CEO of Riverside was arrested, along with his son and five other people. Earnest Gibson III has led the hospital for 30 years. The government alleges that Gibson and his employees bilked Medicare out of $158 million over more than seven years.

Riverside had already suffered the arrest of a top administrator in February, on charges of using patient recruiters to steer group home residents into its programs.  In June, Medicare stopped reimbursing Riverside for its partial hospitalization programs at four mental health sites.

While federal agents trumpet the arrests as victories in rooting out health care fraud, it’s unclear how it plays politically.

“The other side effect of all this fraud is it leads to people being less confident that their taxpayer dollars are being spent well and they end up being less supportive of government provision of health care,” Ho said.

“I think on the margin this Medicare fraud can lead people to become more cynical about supporting the Medicare program.”

Still, Ho says the answer is not giving up on Medicare but cracking down even more, especially using data mining and other digital tools.

Ho says it’s hard to know for sure, but some studies estimate that up to 10 percent of Medicare spending is actually lost to fraud and abuse.

“To that extent, 10 percent savings would be wonderful in terms of trying to deal with the deficit we’re facing because we spend so much on Medicare. So when we’re talking about fraud, if we can address it effectively, it’s not a drop in the bucket, it’s actually a tremendous amount of savings that would make us all better off.”

Ho says investigations of medical fraud slowed down after Sept. 11, 2001, when the government investigations shifted to terrorism.

But investigations and arrests have picked up over the past two years.

They often focus on organized crime rings that steal the identity of seniors and bill for services at non-existent clinics.

Criminals also use home health care, ambulance services, and medical equipment to defraud the system.

A report from the Health and Human Services Department indicates that for every dollar spent in recent years on investigating medical fraud, the government recovers more than $7.

Map of Florida marking the area first affected

Map of Florida marking the area first affected (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes KUHF, NPR and Kaiser Health News.