Today’s NewsStand – June 8, 2018

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

Iowa News

Returning Medicaid to state control does not take ‘years’
During a recent gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidates all said they supported repealing the privatization of Iowa’s Medicaid program. They also advocated exercising caution in bringing it back under state control. One called it a “process” that should involve lawmakers. Another suggested it could take as long as three years. It will not take years unless a new governor hems and haws. Iowa already has a clear “plan” to provide health insurance to 600,000 low-income and disabled Iowans. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa ACLU wins case involving transgender Medicaid coverage
On Thursday, two American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) clients won a lawsuit challenging the Iowa Department of Human Services’ (DHS) ban on Medicaid coverage for medically necessary surgical care for transgender Iowans. The ban affected transition-related care – such as receiving a mastectomy that would be determined medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria. The ruling will change Iowa Administrative Code to allow “transgender individuals coverage under Iowa Medicaid for medically necessary gender affirming surgery for the treatment of Gender Dysphoria.” (WOWT)

Iowa sees disturbing increase in number of suicides
Suicide rates are on the rise in every state except Nevada, according to a report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report indicates that suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. “We’re not going to get anywhere by hiding it,” said Peggy Huppert, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Iowa. The CDC says there has been a 36 percent increase in suicides from 1999 to 2016 in Iowa. In the report, the CDC recommends that health care systems provide affordable and effective mental health help. (KCCI)

New Mercy rehab hospital aims to help Iowans recover from strokes, injuries
Central Iowans who have suffered strokes, spinal cord injuries or brain injuries will soon have a new place to recover. Mercy Medical Center is set to open a $21 million, 50-bed “rehabilitation hospital” in Clive on Monday. The new facility is the first free-standing rehabilitation hospital in Iowa, Mercy leaders said after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. It will focus on people who need intense physical therapy, speech therapy and other types of rehabilitation. Most patients will be referred there after being hospitalized for strokes or debilitating injuries. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Justice Department takes aim at heart of health law
The Trump administration said in a court filing late Thursday that it will no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the requirement that people have health insurance and provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions. The decision, announced in a filing in a federal court in Texas, is a rare departure from the Justice Department’s practice of defending federal laws in court. Texas and other Republican-led states are suing to strike down the entire law because Congress recently repealed a provision that people without health insurance must pay a fine. (Associated Press/ABC News)

As patients suffer, companies profit
When Texas turned over many of its health programs to private companies to manage, they promised to save taxpayers millions while delivering better health care to more than 4 million Texans, including about 720,000 medically fragile children and adults. But years of inept state regulation have allowed corporations to profit as they skimp on care for sick kids and disabled adults in the program known as Medicaid managed care. And Texas health officials have hidden the full extent of the problems from the public. (Dallas News)

Health care a top issue for voters ahead of midterms
More than one in five voters, 22 percent, said in a new NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll that health care is their top issue in the November midterm elections. The economy and jobs followed at 19 percent, with guns at 13 percent, taxes and spending at 11 percent and immigration at 10 percent. The poll found Democrats are more likely to consider health care a top issue. The poll is good news for Democrats, who plan to hit Republicans on their health-care record ahead of the midterms. (The Hill)

The crazy talk about bringing back asylums
When President Trump mused that the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida might have been prevented if the US had more mental institutions, he revived a not-quite-dormant debate: Should the country bring back asylums? Psychiatric facilities are unlikely to prevent crimes similar to the Parkland shooting because people are typically not committed until after a serious incident. But people who suffer from behavioral and psychiatric disorders need and deserve a wide range of care options: community mental health centers, short-term care facilities, and longer-term arrangements for the small portion of people who can’t live safely in the community. (New York Times)