Featured Issues

Understanding ‘Short-Term’ Health Insurance Plans

The federal government has issued health insurance rules that will allow people to shop for so-called “short-term plans.” Most of these plans will be much less expensive than plans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) markets and to some people they may look like a better option. But the plans are cheaper for a reason: They cover fewer medical services than comprehensive insurance and they will cost more for people with pre-existing health problems, if they’ll cover them at all.

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Health Crisis: Rural Americans Most Vulnerable to Suicide

While the highly publicized deaths of celebrities frequently shock America, rural areas are suffering the most. Each year, thousands of Americans in small towns take their own lives after suffering — often for years — without adequate access to mental health professionals. It is time our elected officials and leaders of health care organizations examine the very system that is no longer able to serve rural Americans. In an era when drug use is skyrocketing in small communities, we should re-examine our priorities to stop more people from dying.

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Iowa Hospital Creates New Job to Address Human Trafficking

Teresa Davidson, a nurse practitioner at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, has been hired as Mercy’s anti-human trafficking coordinator. She is responsible for leading the hospital’s efforts to strengthen the comprehensive response to victims of human trafficking. “We know there is a great need for community response and collaboration on this growing problem,” said Davidson. “Human trafficking is really a modern-day form of slavery and there’s a huge need for a united effort to address the safety needs of the victims and develop a comprehensive response to the problem.

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The Governor Ray Way Seems Lost Today

Iowans will remember Governor Robert Ray for his character. His politics were focused on common sense public policy that worked for all Iowans. When Gov. Ray successfully advocated for Iowa toddler Katie Beckett to receive a home and community-based Medicaid waiver so she could leave the hospital and be cared for in her home, he observed, “It makes you feel good that things like this do develop; it makes you realize that government can be humanized.”

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How Iowa’s Individual Insurance Market Went from Bad to Worse

Iowa’s new law exempting certain health plans from state and federal regulation will make a bad situation worse for the state’s individual insurance market. The law is supposed to give individual market consumers access to cheaper, non-Obamacare health plans. But it’s likely the law will lead to further market segmentation as only healthier Iowans will benefit from these unregulated plans.

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Iowa’s Medicaid Mess is All Too Familiar

Much like Iowa, things have not gone well with Medicaid privatization in Kansas. And, again like Iowa, promises that the MCOs would save millions of dollars and make people healthier have been called into question. So much so that in April 2017, Kansas legislators directed the state’s independent auditors to find out whether KanCare is working. Their conclusion: It’s not.

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