Today’s NewsStand – December 20, 2018

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

Iowa News

Obamacare enrollment slips in Iowa, but not as much as supporters feared it would
The number of Iowans signing up for private health insurance under Obamacare slipped this fall, but not as much as the program’s fans feared. Federal officials reported Wednesday that 49,376 Iowans enrolled in private insurance plans for 2019 by the December 15 deadline. The preliminary numbers were down about 7 percent from the 2018 total of 53,217, although officials said the new estimate could edge up as all last-minute enrollees are counted. (Des Moines Register)

St. Luke’s retains Magnet status for nursing
UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s on Wednesday was redesignated with standards from Magnet Program Recognition, an international honor for excellence in its nursing practice. This is the Cedar Rapids hospitals’ third time receiving the recognition from the American Nursing Credentialing Center. It was first Magnet-designated in 2009, and redesignated in 2014. The Magnet program was developed in 1990 to recognize health care organizations for nursing excellence and to highlight “the gold standard in patient care.” (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Holiday hunger hurts Iowa students
Across Iowa, all children are eagerly awaiting the holidays. At least, that’s how it seems. Unfortunately, for many children, extended breaks from school mean worrying about being hungry. Thousands of our state’s youth are eligible for free or reduced-cost school meals, and the need has been growing. In 2000, 27 percent of Iowa’s public school students qualified for the program, according to the Iowa Department of Education. Not yet two decades later and the percentage of qualifying students has risen to an extraordinary 40 percent. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Five ways nixing the Affordable Care Act could upend the entire health system
If Friday night’s district court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional were to be upheld, far more than the law’s most high-profile provisions would be at stake. Meanwhile, ways that eliminating the ACA could upend health care for many, if not most, Americans include millions losing coverage, fundamental changes to the system could be stymied, Medicare and Medicaid would be dramatically altered, a wide array of health programs are at risk and even the Trump administration’s health agenda could be compromised. (Kaiser Health News)

Obamacare enrollment drops for second year in a row under Trump
Enrollment in Obamacare plans declined for the second year in a row under President Trump, according to new numbers released Wednesday. A total of 8.45 million people signed up for Obamacare plans on healthcare.gov during this year’s sign up period, which ran from November 1 through December 15. That’s compared to the 8.8 million people who signed up last year — a drop of about 4 percent, or 367,000 people. (The Hill)

Senate GOP blocks bid to intervene in Obamacare case
Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a vote on a resolution that would have allowed the Senate to intervene in a federal lawsuit against Obamacare. Democrats asked for unanimous consent to authorize the Senate legal counsel to defend Obamacare in court after a district judge in Texas declared the entire law unconstitutional last week. The case is almost certainly headed for an appeal. (The Hill)

Health care is where the jobs are. But what kind of jobs?
More Americans are now employed in health care than in any other industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tallies job creation, says that for most of this year the health sector outpaced the retail industry. Only government, on all levels, employs more people. One of the consistent features of the BLS reports is that health care has reliably added thousands of jobs to the economy each month. November was no different. The health care industry created 32,000 jobs, adding to the 328,000 health care positions created since early 2017. (Kaiser Health News)