Feb 3, 2017

Rick Scott wants to gut hospital Medicaid payments

Steve Cannon / AP

Republican Gov. Rick Scott's budget for the next fiscal year would cut Medicaid payments to hospitals by $930 million.

Scott didn't mince words. "Florida's hospitals continue to have record profits, and the governor is committed to fighting price gouging and unfair costs for Floridians needing important medical care," his office said in a release. Most of the cuts will come from allowing the state's Medicaid health insurers to pay hospitals less. The Florida Hospital Association told the Naples Daily News it condemned the policy.

Why this matters: Scott used to run HCA, the country's largest for-profit hospital company, which was embroiled in a massive fraud probe as he left and later paid $1.7 billion in fines. The Medicaid cuts would disproportionately affect not-for-profit and public hospitals that treat more poor patients. And despite the tough words, Scott indirectly praised his former company when he said he wanted to eliminate "supplemental payments for hospitals that provide less charity compared to the for-profit hospital industry."

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Face mask discarded outside the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The official number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. just doubled — to 34 — but public health officials are pointing out that these are mostly people who've been repatriated.

Why it matters: As concerns grow about a global pandemic, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to make sure the message gets out: "We are not seeing community spread here in the United States," Nancy Messonnier says.

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Bernie opens up massive lead among college students

Data: College Reaction; Note: ±3.4 margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

In the last two months, Bernie Sanders has surged 20 points among college students to become the group's clear 2020 favorite, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.

Why it matters: The numbers reflect the extent to which young Democratic voters are embracing socialism and rejecting moderate choices.

Situational awareness

Photos: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images

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