Today’s NewsStand – November 5 , 2019

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

Iowa News

Democratic presidential candidate forum focused on health care, people with disabilities
Over the weekend, democratic presidential candidates participated in a forum held in Cedar Rapids focused on Iowans with disabilities and health care. Candidates began with sounding off on the importance for health care reform. Presidential candidates, legislators and senators welcomed input from voters. Democratic organizers said this forum was a first of it’s kind and will continue to do it in the future. (KWWL)

Report: Nearly one in 10 Iowa babies are born premature
A new report has found that nearly one in ten Iowa children are born pre-term. The annual report by the non-profit March of Dimes gave Iowa a “C” for its pre-term birthrate. It reports 9.9 percent of babies were born pre-term last year, up from 9.2 percent in 2017. It’s the highest rate the state has seen in a decade. The national average is 10 percent. Counties with the highest pre-term birthrates are Scott County at 10.3 percent, Woodbury at 10 percent and Black Hawk at 9.5 percent. The city of Des Moines has a rate of 10.3 percent. (Iowa Public Radio)

Muscatine County leaves Eastern Iowa mental health region
While the Muscatine County Board of Supervisors has been studying the issue for months, it only took about 10 minutes Monday morning to vote unanimously to leave the Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region. During the board’s regular meeting, community services director Felicia Toppert gave the recommendation that the county leave the Eastern Iowa region and apply for membership with the Southeast Iowa Link which serves Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Washington and Van Buren counties. (Muscatine Journal)

National News

Rural seasonal workers worry about Montana Medicaid’s work requirements
People on Medicaid who work rural seasonal jobs in Montana are wondering about the future of their access to health coverage. Montana recently passed a law that, if it gains federal approval and goes into effect as planned in January, would require many Medicaid recipients to prove they work a set number of hours each month. A part of Montana’s new law does attempt to carve out exemptions for workers in seasonal jobs, but the state health department is still developing what that will look like. (Iowa Public Radio)

Georgia governor unveils Medicaid expansion plan with work requirement
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a plan Monday to expand Medicaid to the state’s poorest able-bodied adults, on the condition that they work, volunteer, receive job training or attend school. Under Kemp’s proposal, which is more limited than other states, uninsured adults in Georgia who make no more than the federal poverty level would qualify for Medicaid assistance if they spent at least 80 hours a month working, volunteering, training or studying. They would also have to pay monthly premiums. (PBS News Hour/Association Press)

As Congress works to curb surprise medical bills, New York’s fix gets examined
As Congress considers various plans and negotiates behind the scenes, data is trickling in from states that have been test-driving proposed solutions. New York was among the first to tackle the issue. In 2015, it passed a surprise billing law that uses “baseball-style” arbitration as a way to settle payment disputes between insurance companies and doctors. Under this approach, which is used in Major League Baseball to negotiate salaries (hence the name), each party submits a proposed dollar amount to the arbiter, who then chooses one as the final monetary award. (Kaiser Health News)