Today’s NewsStand – December 12, 2018

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

Iowa News

34,000 uninsured Iowans could qualify for free health policies under Obamacare, study says
Nearly 34,000 Iowans who lack health insurance could get free policies under Obamacare, a new report estimates.Nearly half of all uninsured Iowans could qualify for no-premium insurance, according to the study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the Iowans would need to act fast: Saturday is the sign-up deadline for 2019 health insurance policies that qualify for federal subsidies. Many Iowans who make a bit more than the income limits for full subsidies could still qualify for substantial help paying their premiums. (Des Moines Register)

Methamphetamine: Iowa’s most resilient crop
Since 2004, legislators and law-enforcement officials have attempted to regulate methamphetamine production and consumption. Despite the efforts, the drug remains rampant throughout the state. The Partnership for a Healthy Iowa, previously known as Partnership for a Drug Free Iowa, delivers educational and outreach programs to decrease high-risk behavior and influence potential users. The organization primarily focuses on drug and alcohol abuse, but it also raises awareness on internet use and positive parenting. (University of Iowa Daily Iowan)

Iowa flu vaccine rate still causes public health concern
Influenza vaccination rates in Iowa beat out the national average during the past flu season. But state public health officials say that’s not enough to ensure Iowans stay healthy this winter. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of adults in Iowa received an influenza vaccine during the 2017-18 flu season, six percent higher than the national average. But that’s a drop from past flu vaccine rates among adults in Iowa, data shows. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

University of Iowa touting ‘exercise is medicine’
Imagine if you could pop a pill that would lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic illnesses while improving quality of sleep, strengthening cognitive function, preventing depression and decreasing anxiety. Well, you can’t, according to Lucas Carr, University of Iowa associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Physiology. “There is no medicine in existence that has all the benefits of this one thing,” he said. That thing: exercise. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

Popular with voters, more conservative states push for Medicaid expansion
One of the big winners in November’s midterm election was public health insurance coverage – specifically expansion of Medicaid. Three conservative states – Idaho, Nebraska and Utah – passed ballot measures expanding their programs. Two other states, including Kansas, elected governors who have said they will push for it. “We’ve seen in our polling that the public is much more aware now of the importance of Medicaid,” said Diane Rowland, the top Medicaid expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Marketplace)

Meth playing a bigger role in US drug overdose crisis
A bigger share of U.S. drug overdose deaths are being caused by methamphetamine, government health officials reported. The number of fatal overdoses involving meth more than tripled between 2011 and 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday. The percentage of overdose deaths involving meth grew from less than 5 percent to nearly 11 percent. (Associated Press)

Tech firms enter the business of campus mental health care
At many college counseling centers therapists are overwhelmed and students are forced to wait weeks for an appointment, even as more of them seek help for anxiety, depression, and sleep and eating disorders. Christie Campus Health, a Lexington start-up that will be launched Wednesday, thinks it has a solution: technology. Christie, an arm of the Mary Christie Foundation, plans to partner with colleges and universities to handle the overflow of short-term counseling needs, using a network of therapists who are available online or over the phone. (Boston Globe)

House passes bipartisan bill aimed at reversing rising maternal mortality rates
The House on Tuesday passed a bipartisan bill aimed at reversing the maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. in what supporters say is the strongest action yet that Congress has taken on the issue. The bill would support state-level efforts to track and investigate pregnancy-related deaths, and then look for ways to prevent future deaths from occurring. The bill allows the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to states to establish Maternal Mortality Review Committees that review every pregnancy-related or pregnancy-associated death. (The Hill)