Health Care | St. Louis Public Radio

Health Care

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Mayer hopes federal health care law among first debated in Mo. Senate this year

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says she is “glad” the Supreme Court will hear arguments over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

(via Mercy)

A "first-of-its-kind in the country" virtual care center" in Chesterfield is just one part of a plan announced by Mercy Tuesday to invest $2.4 billion into the St. Louis area.

The care center and additional investment are portions of a $4.6 billion all-Missouri health care investment initiative from Mercy, designed to distribute the investments over the next eight years.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A federal appeals court will hear arguments this fall on a lawsuit by Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder challenging the new federal health care law.

Kinder filed suit as a private individual challenging the federal law on several points. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in April, ruling that Kinder did not have legal standing to bring many of the claims and that others were not ripe for judicial review.

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Reporting from KCUR's Elana Gordon used in this report.

An interim state senate committee is trying to figure out whether, and, if so, how Missouri should create a state health exchange. 

During the their first public hearing on the issue yesterday, Mark Sergener, an insurance agent from St. Joseph, testified against creating such an exchange, siting concerns over how insurance carriers and coverage options would be affected.

Flickr/Tony the Misfit

Missouri's Amish population on the rise

Missouri has the fourth-highest Amish population growth rate in the country. Between 2009 and 2011, the Amish population grew by 15 percent, according to Donald Kraybill at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

Kraybill says that the population boom is fueled by large family size, high retention rates and immigration.

Missouri is attractive to Amish settlers for a number of reasons, Kraybill says.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Officials from 21 states have filed a court document supporting a lawsuit by Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder challenging the new federal health care law.

A federal judge previously dismissed Kinder's lawsuit, and that decision is on appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.  Kinder says eight of those 21 states are within the 8th Circuit.

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

About 20 percent of seniors and people with disabilities will lose prescription drug coverage because of cuts in the Illinois state budget.

State officials are sending letters to 43,000 participants saying they won't qualify for "Illinois Cares Rx" as of Sept. 1. Those who are still enrolled will pay more out of pocket for their prescriptions.

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Missouri now has a law on its books allowing it to join with other states in ignoring requirements of the new federal health care law. But the Missouri statute may never have much of an effect, because it requires Congress to first sign off the creation of the multistate health care compact.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday allowed the Missouri legislation to become law without his signature.

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Illinois had offered health insurance coverage to all children. But now there's an income cap to get the state-backed coverage - critics call it shortsighted.

As the name "All Kids" suggests, all children were eligible, but as of July 1, only families within 300 percent of the poverty level can apply.

That's an income cap of $67,000 for a family of four.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Flooded Poplar Bluff Hit with More Rain

The southern Missouri town of Poplar Bluff endured another night of torrential rain, this time dropping another two inches of water onto already saturated ground.

 The Black River levee that protects the town's low-lying neighborhoods survived Tuesday night. The earthen wall was breached yesterday south of town, which flooded farmland, but released pressure within city limits.

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation extending several health care taxes that help generate about $3 billion annually for state's Medicaid program.

The special taxes are levied on such things hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies. They are used to draw down federal Medicaid money, which is then distributed to health care providers through various programs.

Missouri's health care taxes are to expire Sept. 30.

(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)

Updated 4:35 p.m. April 11, 2011 with comment from Jones and Tilley.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says Congress overstepped its constitutional powers under the commerce clause when it mandated that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Koster says he filed a document (see below) Monday with a federal appeals court supporting a Florida lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health care law.

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

Today is the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s health care reform law. Despite threats to repeal the law, Illinois’ top insurance regulator said people are better protected and covered under the law.

After one year of being in effect the law has managed to round up plenty of support but also plenty of disdain.

(Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the federal health care law's legal fate is still uncertain.

Koster's statement comes in response to three Republican officials who asked him whether he thought the law could be enforced in Missouri.

Two federal judges upheld the health care overhaul. A third struck down the insurance requirement, and a fourth ruled the entire law is unconstitutional. Appeals courts will consider those rulings.

  • A winter weather advisory is in effect for the St. Louis region until 6 p.m. Thursday evening. Heavy snow fell overnight in St. Charles County, Northern St. Louis County, St. Louis City and Madison County, Il. The National Weather Service says more snow is expected throughout the day. Some places in the St. Louis region might see 12 inches of snow by the time the snow stops.
  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon proposed flat funding for public schools and cuts to colleges in his annual State of the State speech. In his address last night, the Democratic governor acknowledged that "times are tough" and he said that even modest job gains are cause for celebration. Nixon put forth a plan to slightly shrink the state's spending, shedding several hundred state workers and privatizing some of their functions. He proposed a $23.1 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
  • Missouri lawmakers are urging Attorney General Chris Koster to challenge the federal health care law. The Republican-led Senate  passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Democratic attorney general to either file his own lawsuit, join a suit by other attorneys general or join a suit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. A similar resolution was passed last week by Missouri's Republican-led House of Representatives. Koster's spokeswoman has said only that the office is monitoring the situation. The Missouri legislative action comes as Republicans in charge of the U.S. House are attempting to repeal the federal health care law enacted last year by President Barack Obama. That effort is not expected to receive support in the U.S. Senate, which is still controlled by Democrats.

(Mo. Atty. General's Office)

Missouri lawmakers are urging Attorney General Chris Koster to challenge the federal health care law.

The Republican-led Senate passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Democratic attorney general to either file his own lawsuit, join a suit by other attorneys general or join a suit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

A report by Elana Gordon, KCUR

Missouri's new high-risk insurance program is dropping premiums by as much as 25 percent. 

The state launched the pool this summer as part of the federal health law.

The Missouri House has passed a resolution urging state officials to join a multistate lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul and calling on Congress to repeal the law.

The House approved the resolution Tuesday on a vote of 115-46.

The resolution also urges Missouri's attorney general to defend a voter-approved law that bars the government from requiring people to have health insurance or penalizing them for not having it. The federal law requires that most people have health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: At a time of much talk about health disparities and programs to improve public health, Missouri stands out for what it isn't doing. The state dropped another notch in health rankings this year while some other states improved their showings, according to a report by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.

(Flickr Creative Commons User aflcio)

Republicans in Missouri are praising Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that declared portions of the new federal health care law unconstitutional.
The Missouri Republican Party released a statement criticizing Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for supporting the bill.

Dr. Frank R. Burton, whose research on chronic pancreatitis helped dispel the widely held assumption that sometimes led patients to be incorrectly labeled as problem drinkers, died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (lung disease) at Saint Louis University Hospital on Monday (Aug. 2, 2010). He was 58.

Dr. Burton, a professor of internal medicine, suffered a heart attack in June while vacationing, but was recovering well when it was discovered that he had advanced lung disease. The illnesses were determined to be unrelated.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When it comes to health-care rationing, the discussions can be anything but rational.

In the current highly charged atmosphere over changes in health care, "rationing" is one of the hottest buttons around. Yet any debate over how medical resources can be used most wisely inevitably reaches the fact that because demand outstrips supply, patients can't ever get everything they want, so some form of allocation is needed. That's what rationing is all about.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 7, 2008 - Hospital errors affect all of us: patients or not. One of the first steps in dealing with and reducing the number of errors in hospitals is getting the staff to report them. Often, fear of punishment drives this information underground; but it is imperative that hospitals find ways to get their staff members to not only report mistakes, but to also learn from them.

Any doctors in the house?

Aug 7, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 7, 2008 - When Miriam Raskin decided to change primary care doctors a few years ago, she never dreamed she would have trouble finding a new one.

"They always say, 'Ask your friends,'" she said. "All my friends went to doctors who couldn't take me."

Raskin didn't know it but she was up against a growing health issue facing Americans -- a shortage of primary care doctors, generalists who are supposed to be a patient's initial medical contact.

In doctors, we trust

Aug 1, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 1, 2008 - The New York Times published an all too familiar story this week on the erosion of the doctor-patient relationship. The headline: "Doctor and Patient, Now at Odds." While the doctor-patient relationship is one of the most important components of our medical system, it appears that the old-fashioned notion of a "cradle-to-grave" family doctor is on the verge of extinction.

"Things have become strained overall," agreed Dr. Keith Starke, chairman of the department of internal medicine at St. John's Mercy Medical Center. "A lot has do with the complexities that doctors and patients alike are dealing with."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008 - Anesthetic Accidents More Common in Afternoon 

A shortage of anesthesiologists is leading to longer working hours and more fatigue among the docs, according to an article in the July issue of the AORN Journal. And further, "Anesthetic adverse events have been found to occur more frequently in surgical procedures performed after 4 p.m."

Technology can help prevent medical errors

Jul 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2008 - Diane Ray calls it "drilling down."

It's what a hospital does when it wants to find out why a medical mistake happened. Officials dig through the data, trace the path of a patient through the hospital and the care given to find out what went wrong.

"You get to the root cause and you analyze where the breakdown occurred," says Ray, director of nursing at St. Luke's Hospital in west St. Louis County.

​This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008 - Flavonoid-rich Foods Improve Cardiac Risk Factors

Chocolate, soy and green tea get the green light while black tea gets blacklisted in an article published in the July American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

St. Louis can be a health and science mecca

Jul 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 18, 2008 - Anheuser-Busch has been sold; another one bites the dust.

But take a closer look and one might see some blips punctuating what many fear may be a flat-line in the landscape of our regional economy.

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