Elana Gordon

Elana Gordon covers the health beat at KCUR. She was previously a production assistant for KCURâ

Some young people seeking to buy health insurance are finding themselves falling into a subsidy gap that leaves them ineligible for financial assistance that was heavily advertised.

Subsidies in the health law were designed to lower insurance costs for people who make around $11,000 to $46,000 a year.

One of the nation's largest and oldest children's hospitals is cracking down on parents who bring their kids herbs, extracts or other dietary supplements.

In what it describes as a break from other hospitals, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, or CHOP, last month removed most dietary supplements from its list of approved medicines, and established new policies for administering them.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett may have been watching fellow Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio who bypassed the Republican Legislature in his state this week to expand Medicaid.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to make coverage available to low-income adults, with the federal government picking up the entire tab for the first three years.

This is a story about data. Lots and lots of data. And they're not just any data — they're extremely sensitive data.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that only half of Americans identified as having had Hepatitis C ever follow-up with additional screening and treatment. But that’s only part of the problem, according to Bruce Burkett of the Missouri Hepatitis C Alliance. Nearly three in four people who have the disease don’t even know it.

Missouri Department of Social Services

The director of Missouri’s Medicaid program, Dr. Ian McCaslin, has left.

US Navy/Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Physicians Assistants, or PAs, may soon have more opportunities to practice in Missouri. A bill headed to the Governor’s desk would provide more flexibility in how and where they provide care.Physicians Assistants are trained health workers who practice medicine under the supervision of a doctor. Their training is shorter than that of a doctor, but they do exams, prescribe drugs and diagnose and treat illnesses.

Photo courtesy of Regina Holliday

When Regina Holliday’s husband, Frederick Allen Holliday II, went to the hospital in 2009, he was already at the end stages of kidney cancer.

Courtesy of UC Irvine / Flickr

A federal judge has struck down a Missouri law that directly challenges the so-called contraceptive mandate under the federal health law.

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Efforts to establish a prescription drug monitoring program in Missouri are making a comeback this year. But there’s a twist: the main opponent of establishing such a program is now sponsoring legislation.

“I think it’s a severe intrusion of our liberty to have the government create a database that is accessible by thousands of people, if not tens of thousands of people, who would then have access to sensitive private information,” said Republican Senator Rob Schaaf, a physician in St. Joseph, Mo.

The McDonald's at the Truman Medical Centers' main campus in Kansas City, Mo., has closed, ending an epic, two-decade stint inside the hospital and making it the fifth health facility in the past few years to give the Big Mac the boot.

Immediately after last week's election, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced the state would not be setting up its own health insurance exchange. Next door in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback announced that Kansas will have no involvement in running a state exchange either. The moves open the door for increased federal involvement in health care in staunchly Republican territory.

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File Photo / KBIA

The federal government will set up and manage a health exchange in Missouri. An exchange is an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses will soon shop for health plans. The Affordable Care Act, or obamacare, requires that all states have exchanges up and running by 2014. States have until next week to indicate whether they will run one or not.

Elana Gordon / Harvest Public Media

In recent years, there has been a concerted push at the local and national levels to make healthy food more widely available, particularly in low-income areas. This is one focus of Food Day, which food groups and advocates celebrated across the U.S Wednesday. But while programs and systems are gradually putting fresh food front and center, changing eating habits can be even more complicated.

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FriedDough / Flickr

A ballot measure that would raise Missouri’s cigarette tax is starting to catch fire.

Leaders of the effort to raise the state’s tobacco tax are making stops across Missouri through the end of this week, to places like here to Lee’s Summit, Mo. on a yellow school bus.

Misty Snodgrass, with the American Cancer Society says a jump in the state’s cigarette tax, currently the lowest in the country, to 90 cents a pack would help reign in the state’s high smoking rate while directing half of that added tax revenue into schools.

brains the head / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Insurance has issued its largest penalty to date, to health insurance company, Aetna. 

Updated 4:33 p.m. with reporting by KCUR's Elana Gordon.

Missouri’s Supreme Court has effectively overturned state caps on non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases.  The court ruled today in favor of Deborah Watts, who filed suit against Cox Medical Centers in Springfield for injuries her son suffered at birth in 2006.

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File Photo / KBIA

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the federal health law, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is not taking a clear stance on whether he thinks the state should take part in a voluntary expansion of its Medicaid program.  The health law originally required states to raise Medicaid eligibility to about 130 percent of the federal poverty level. But the Supreme Court ruling now leaves that decision up to states.  Speaking to reporters in Kansas City Monday, Nixon said he hopes to work with providers, businesses, and lawmakers to figure out what’s best for Missouri.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

One of the places you'd expect to find healthy food is in hospitals - boring, but healthy. But in recent decades, fast food restaurants have worked their way into hospitals around the country. That's despite growing evidence linking fast food menus to high rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Elana Gordon from member station KCUR in Kansas City takes us to one place that has been wrestling with that situation.

KBIA file photo

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is once again filing suit against a health care measure. He and some other Republican lawmakers have announced plans to challenge the secretary of state’s office on newly issued ballot language for a health care measure that’s slated to appear on the November ballot.

j.stephenconn / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling, upholding the federal health law, has provided more clarity to the region and country. 

Jacob Fenston / KBIA

In the next few days, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the federal health care law. Even if the court upholds the law, one key component will be under fire here in Missouri come November. On the ballot will be a measure targeting the law's required online marketplaces, or health insurance exchanges, where individuals and small businesses can buy plans. 

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Missouri hospitals are providing more charity care, according to a new analysis from the Missouri Foundation for Health. But, community health centers have also been easing the strain.

File / KBIA

With just a few days left to go in Missouri’s legislative session, Governor Jay Nixon says he’s optimistic about reaching a deal with lawmakers on workers’ compensation legislation he previously rejected.  While visiting a medical supplies company in North Kansas City on Tuesday to highlight positive economic and employment trends in the state, Nixon said he met with lawmakers Monday evening, before continuing work on the workers’ comp legislation.

On one side of a wall inside the Truman Medical Center cafeteria in Kansas City, Missouri, the menu features low-calorie, low-fat and low-sodium meals. On the other side of the wall is a McDonald's, featuring hamburgers and french fries.

Free health clinics have long been places people turn to when they don't have health insurance or any money to pay for care. But the health law's expansion of coverage puts free clinics in uncharted territory.

While the law goes before the Supreme Court this week, health providers are already gearing up for a surge in patients with insurance.

Around the country, hundreds of free clinics have been established over the past 50 years to treat patients like Patsy Duarte.