Featured Issues

Senators Agree Surprise Medical Bills Must Go. But How?

Two years, 16 hearings and one massive bipartisan package of legislation later, a key Senate committee says it is ready to start marking up a bill next week designed to contain health care costs. But it might not be easy since lawmakers and stakeholders at a final hearing Tuesday showed they are still far apart on one simple aspect of the proposal. That sticking point: a formula for paying for surprise medical bills, those unexpected and often high charges patients face when they get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t in their insurance network.

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Escalating Workplace Violence Rocks Hospitals

Across the country, many doctors, nurses and other health care workers have remained silent about what is being called an epidemic of violence against them. The violent outbursts come from patients and patients’ families. And for years, it has been considered part of the job. Many health care workers say the physical and verbal abuse come primarily from patients, some of whom are disoriented because of illness or medication. Sometimes nurses and doctors are abused by family members who are on edge because their loved one is ill.

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Surprise! Fixing Out-Of-Network Bills Means Someone Must Pay

President Donald Trump called on Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation this year to end surprise medical bills, in remarks made in the White House’s Roosevelt Room on Thursday. “We’re determined to end surprise medical billing for American patients,” Trump said. A bipartisan group of senators has been working to come up with a plan for the past several months. They said Thursday that they hope to have a bill to the president by July. But will bipartisanship be enough? Even political will might not overcome divisions within the health industry.

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Association Insurance Pushes On Despite Court Ruling

The Trump administration in June issued rules making it easier for small employers to band together to buy health insurance through an association health plan, which doesn’t have to meet all the rules of the Affordable Care Act. In the first legal test, however, U.S. District Judge John Bates at the end of March sided with 11 states and the District of Columbia challenging the law. He invalidated a large chunk of those June rules, saying the administration issued them as an “end-run around the Affordable Care Act.” So what now?

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Amid Opioid Crackdown, Health Officials Reach Out To Pain Patients

Amid an ongoing crackdown on overprescribing doctors in Appalachia announced in October, patient advocates have been increasingly concerned for pain patients and those abusing prescription drugs. Being suddenly cut off from medications they depend on can be dangerous. Patients could become so desperate from withdrawal symptoms that they may resort to street drugs and could overdose.

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Iowa Well Represented in Healthiest Communities List

Many Iowa counties are among the healthiest communities in the United States, according to new nationwide listings. The 2019 Healthiest Communities Rankings, an annual list compiled by U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation, measured counties in Iowa and other states on several health-related metrics, such as obesity and smoking rates as well as infrastructure and access to recreational spaces. Ida County, located in west central Iowa between Sioux City and Fort Dodge, was ranked as the nation’s most improved healthiest community.

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