Today’s NewsStand – September 12, 2019

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

Iowa News

Number of uninsured Iowans remains steady
New U.S. Census Bureau data shows the percentage of Iowans who lack health insurance remains among the lowest in the country. The state is ranked seventh best for having a 4.7 percent rate of people without health insurance in 2018 – the same percentage as the previous year. That’s about 148,000 uninsured Iowans. Nationwide, the 2018 rate increased for the first time since 2009 with 27.5 million Americans without health insurance at any point during the year – up from 25.6 million the previous year. (Radio Iowa)

Iowa Medicaid open choice ends this month
Iowa Medicaid members have until the end of this month to switch insurers. All members of Iowa’s IA Health Link and Hawk-i programs are in an open choice period this month, meaning members can change their managed-care organization for any reason through Sept. 30. That will be the last opportunity members will have to change managed-care organizations until the annual choice period, unless a member requests a switch for reasons of good cause, according to a release from Iowa Medicaid Enterprises. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

MercyOne and AirCare parting ways following contract negotiation
AirCare, the medical transport service ran by University of Iowa Health Care, will no longer be based at MercyOne facilities in Waterloo and Dubuque. A joint release from MercyOne and UIHC said the two have not been able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement and the partnership between the two will end Saturday, September 15. Neither side would elaborate on the exact reason for the split and said it was a complex issue. It’s still uncertain where the helicopters would be going as UIHC said they are still making plans. (KWWL)

National News

Verma presses hospitals to assume risk in value-based care models
CMS Administrator Seema Verma urged hospitals on Tuesday to accept new value-based care models and price transparency requirements or face greater administrative burden, less competition, and lower reimbursement rates under Medicare for All. Hospitals will be a major target for the reforms. Verma reported that hospital care accounted for one-third of all healthcare expenditures in 2017, representing the largest portion of healthcare spending that year. (RevCycle Intellience)

Insurers, hospitals could reap benefits from leaked drug price bill 
A leaked summary of a proposal bill from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to combat drug prices brought some good news for insurers and hospitals struggling with exorbitant drug costs, experts say. The proposal would allow the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) each year to pick 250 brand-name drugs that lack at least two generic or biosimilar competitors. Medicare would have the power to negotiate with the drugmaker on a rate for these products. While the proposal hasn’t been officially released, it provides an outlook into how the speaker’s office is handling the issue of drug prices this year. (Fierce Healthcare)

Hospital CEOs, health care groups campaign for Medicaid expansion in Missouri
Hospital leaders and patient advocates in Missouri launched an initiative to get Medicaid expansion on the state’s 2020 ballot. The campaign aims to let Missouri voters decide whether to expand Medicaid. Steven Edwards, president and CEO of Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth, told the news station that 200,000 residents remain uninsured due to the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid under the ACA. The Healthcare for Missouri coalition, of which the Missouri Hospital Association is a member, will be collecting signatures to bring Medicaid expansion to a vote in 2020. (Becker’s Hospital Review)