Today’s NewsStand — June 5, 2017

Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Loebsack: Allow Iowans to use DC’s insurance option
US Representative Dave Loebsack wants to give Iowans without any insurance options the chance to buy the same coverage offered to members of Congress and their staffs. On Friday, he introduced legislation that would allow Americans living in a county with no health insurance choice on the federal exchange access to coverage through the DC Health Exchange. “My No. 1 goal throughout the debate over health care insurance has been to ensure Iowans have access to quality, affordable coverage,” Loebsack said. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Cuts in Medicaid funds could hurt Iowa schools
Because of a genetic disorder, Lucas Montgomery, a 20-year-old Prairie High School student, needs constant care. At school, nearly all of it is handled by Licensed Practical Nurse Leah Kimball. Kimball’s pay, as well as the cost of the equipment she uses to take care of Lucas, is eligible to be reimbursed by Medicaid. Those funds could be in jeopardy under the Republican health care plan passed by the House last month and currently being reworked in the Senate. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Expanding telehealth services at Dallas County Hospital
The Dallas County Hospital has partnered with Integrated Telehealth Partners (ITP) out of West Des Moines in order to improve patient access to behavioral health care services. ITP has board certified psychiatrists and psych certified advanced registered nurse practicioners who provide real-time care using telehealth video conferencing technology. This service will improve outcomes for mental health patients and reduce the time spent by emergency room staff finding inpatient hospitalization. (Perry Chief)

Wellmark: How we can re-enter Iowa’s individual health market in 2018
Wellmark recently announced that we will no longer offer or renew individual Affordable Care Act plans in Iowa as of January 1, 2018. Unfortunately, this decision affects 21,400 Iowans, or 1.3 percent of Wellmark’s members in the state. Immediately following our announcement, Wellmark began working alongside state and federal officials to structure a solution that will make the health insurance market stable and affordable again for Iowans purchasing their own insurance. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Republicans return from recess under health care time crunch
Republican senators return today from a 10-day recess with immediate decisions to make on their quest to overhaul the 2010 health care law. While Senate leaders have largely avoided putting any artificial timelines on their endeavor, the GOP is under an extreme time crunch to produce and advance their own legislation to match the House bill. Some members are now openly doubting whether Republicans can follow through on their seven-year effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. (Roll Call)

Pence presses Congress to pass health care by end of summer
Vice President Pence urged lawmakers on Saturday to pass a health care reform measure by the end of summer. Pence arrived at Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-Iowa) “Roast and Ride” fundraiser in Boone, Iowa. “Iowa is facing a health care crisis under Obamacare and it’s high time we take action,” Pence told a crowd at the Central Iowa Expo. “That’s why Congress must come together under the leadership of President Donald Trump and relieve Iowa and relieve America and repeal and replace Obamacare.” (The Hill)

Patients in Massachusetts wait hours, days as demand for psychiatric beds grows
A study of Massachusetts hospitals published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine showed that mentally ill patients wait hours, sometimes days, for treatment. “This scenario happens over and over and over again,” says Judith Shindul-Rothschild, associate professor of nursing at Boston College. But inpatient psych beds are just one hurdle for those with complicated mental health issues. After a month in a psychiatric unit, it’s even harder to find a step-down placement. (WBUR)

A single-payer party? Democrats shift left on health care
For years, Republicans savaged Democrats for supporting the Affordable Care Act, branding the law as a government takeover of health care. Now, Democrats and activist leaders seeking political redemption have embraced an unlikely-seeming cause: an actual government takeover of health care. At rallies and in town hall meetings, liberal Democrats have pressed lawmakers to support the creation of a single-payer system, in which the state or federal government would supplant private health insurance with a program of public coverage. (New York Times)

As government-funded cancer research sags, scientists fear US is ‘losing its edge’
Less and less of the research presented at a prominent cancer conference is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a development that some of the country’s top scientists see as a worrisome trend. President Donald Trump has proposed cutting the NIH budget for 2018 from $31.8 billion to $26 billion, a decline that many worry would jeopardize the fight against cancer and other diseases. “America may be losing its edge in medical research,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. (Kaiser Health News)