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Health Care

Morning headlines: Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mar 29, 2012
(david_shane)

Mo. Senator accuses state labor department of improperly manipulating wages with unions

A top Missouri Senate leader says the state labor department is improperly working with unions to manipulate wages paid on public works projects. The state calculates an annual "prevailing wage" for various construction trades in each county based on surveys of wages already paid on jobs.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, a Republican from Dexter, said Wednesday that state bureaucrats and labor unions had engaged in what he called "collusion.

Supreme Court Cheat Sheet Day 3: Scalia Unplugged

Mar 28, 2012

On the final morning of its three-day health care law extravaganza, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the question of whether parts of the 2010 federal statute can survive if the justices strike down its central tenet: the individual insurance requirement.

In other words, if the nine justices find the insurance mandate unconstitutional when they rule by June, would that mean that the entire law also fails the constitutionality test?

In its second-to-last argument over the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ponders a what-if.

Specifically, if the justices decide that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, does that invalidate the rest of the law? And if not, how much, if any, of the rest of the law should it strike down?

Morning headlines: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mar 28, 2012
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Mo. legislation allows some sex offenders to be removed from state registry

Missouri House members have endorsed legislation allowing some sex offenders to be removed from the state registry.

Several offenses, such as promoting obscenity, no longer would require registration. In other cases, people could petition a state trial judge to be removed from the state registry.

A clearly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the centerpiece of President Obama's health care law: its requirement that by 2014 individuals have insurance coverage or face a penalty.

In contrast to Monday's dense and technical arguments, Tuesday's session was filled with sharp rhetorical volleys and clever analogies. Here are some of the more telling exchanges between the lawyers and the high court justices.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Two rallies in Jefferson City today each called for the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and for employers to have the right to not provide coverage for birth control.

Several hundred people attended the rally held at the State Capitol, led by several religious leaders.  Maggie Karner with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod told the crowd that President Obama’s birth control mandate is an attack on religious freedom.

“This debate is simply about us being forced to pay for products and services that are contrary to our religious beliefs, and we cannot be expected to check our faith at the door," Karner said.

The U.S. Supreme Court gets to the heart of the health care arguments Tuesday. Almost exactly two years after Congress passed the Obama health care overhaul, the justices are hearing legal arguments testing the constitutionality of the so-called health care mandate — so-called because those words actually do not appear in the law.


Does a federal law stretching back to 1867 bar the Supreme Court from deciding on the merits of the administration's health law right now?

The court on Monday heard the first arguments in a historic three-day session that could decide the fate of the Obama administration's signature domestic achievement.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

As the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act approaches, a top surrogate of President Obama says the law will survive political and constitutional challenges to have a third anniversary.

The US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was in St. Louis on Monday, part of a coordinated effort by President Obama and his surrogates to answer criticisms of the law.

The John Cochran Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis got bipartisan praise on Wednesday for addressing customer service and equipment sterilization issues that have plagued it for nearly two years.

Here's a brief recap of those problems:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 9, 2012 - The Obama administration's decision that all health plans must cover federally approved contraceptives as of 2013 has touched off a political storm in Missouri, where opponents are framing the issue as an attack on religious freedom.

Morning headlines: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jan 25, 2012
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Shimkus on Obama's State of the Union address

President Barack Obama delivered an election-year message to Republicans: Game on.

The GOP - in Congress and on the campaign trail - signaled it's ready for the fight.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama issued a populist call for income equality that echoed the Occupy Wall Street movement. He also challenged GOP lawmakers to work with him or move aside so he could use the power of the presidency to produce results for an electorate uncertain whether he deserves another term.

Morning headlines: Monday, January 9, 2011

Jan 9, 2012
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 6, 2012 - Consumers filled 88 million discounted prescriptions at Walgreens last year under the chain's agreement with Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit company based in St. Louis. The arrangement gave Walgreens access to millions of additional customers while allowing Express Scripts to negotiate lower prices for company, government and union health plans.

Nurse practitioners fill a gap in rural health care

Dec 15, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 15, 2011 - There are no doctors in Pilot Grove, Mo., but the town's 825 residents have perhaps the best alternative source of health care, thanks to an enterprising nurse practitioner. She is Laurie A. Beach, who owns and operates the Pilot Grove Rural Health Clinic in the central Missouri town.

McCaskill "glad" SCOTUS taking up health care overhaul

Nov 15, 2011
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.

Hearing set on Kinder's health care lawsuit

Aug 23, 2011
(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.

Morning headlines: Monday, July 25, 2011

Jul 25, 2011
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.

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