Health & Wealth Desk

Wednesday mornings during Morning Edition, and Wednesday afternoon during All Things Considered

KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. Reporter Katie Hiler produces a short weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:51 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Politicians tussle over health care for the blind

Governor Jay Nixon spoke with blind constituents after speaking in Columbia on Tuesday.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon told reporters yesterday that lawmakers in Jefferson City are trying to balance the state budget on the backs of some of the state's neediest: poor blind people. But members of the House budget committee said cuts to health care for blind Missourians are necessary to pay for higher education, which the governor wants to trim. 

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Health & Wealth Update
9:49 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Why 10,000 steps might save your life

John Thyfault, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Everyone knows exercise helps you lose weight, build up muscles, and fit in the swimsuit next summer. But why, exactly, does it lower your risk of diabetes? In this Health & Wealth update, MU researchers look into the relationship between inactivity and spikes in blood sugar that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:15 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Bill would require coverage of eating disorders

Annie Seal testifies before a Senate committee yesterday in Jefferson City.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

In 1995, Rick Stream's 18-year-old daughter died in bed. For several years she'd been struggling with bulimia and that night her heart finally heart stopped beating, weakened from low potassium levels. Now, Stream is a state representative, and he's sponsoring a bill in the Missouri House that would require health insurance companies to cover treatment for eating disorders -- treatment he says could have saved his daughter's life if his insurance had paid for it.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:46 am
Wed February 22, 2012

New program eases debt for rural medical students

Brady Didion, fourth-year med student at MU, was recently chosen for an early loan repayment program with the National Health Service Corps.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

The average medical school student graduates with close to $160,000 in debt. That heavy burden is one reason why there is a long-running shortage of primary care doctors in rural America. More and more graduating students choose higher-paying specialties over rural primary care. In this weekly update, a new pilot program helps medical students pay off loans as soon as they start residency, so it's easier to choose a lower-paying, but possibly more fulfilling career path.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:09 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Republicans in Congress seek cuts to walking and biking programs

The new crosswalk at Old 63 and Walnut, connecting Stephens Lake Park to Benton-Stephens. The high-tech crosswalk and two blocks of extra-wide sidewalks cost $247,786.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Today the U.S. House of Representatives is debating a Republican-backed transportation bill, which would authorize $260 billion for the next five years. More money would go to highways, but at the expense of stable funding for public transportation, and the elimination of pedestrian and cycling programs. In this Health & Wealth update, among the proposed cuts is a pilot project in Columbia that's responsible for many of the new bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks around town.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:00 am
Wed February 8, 2012

'Obamacare' opposition helps Santorum in primary

Rick Santorum greets supporters in Columbia on Friday.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Rick Santorum trounced Mitt Romney yesterday in Missouri's "beauty contest" presidential primary. The state's delegates won't be chosen until caucuses on March 17, but the vote added to Santorum's momentum as he also swept Minnesota and Colorado. In this week's Health & Wealth update, how conservative opposition to Obama's Affordable Care Act may have helped Santorum in the Show-Me State.

Health & Wealth Update
7:05 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack talks jobs, farm safety net

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, speaking at a roundtable in Kansas City last week.
Andy Dandino USDA

Following up on President Obama's State of the Union address last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is touring the country, touting his boss's job-creation efforts in rural America -- Missouri was his latest stop. In this week's Health & Wealth update, a conversation with Secretary Vilsack: we talk rural jobs, USDA office closures, and the fate of the farmer's safety net in the face of natural disasters and shrinking budgets. 

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Health & Wealth Report
2:09 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Mormons returning to northwest Missouri, 174 years after 'extermination order'

"We believe that this is the birthplace of the human race," said Barry Bartlett, who moved to Missouri 16 years ago. His great, great, great, great grandfather wielded a mean oak stick back in the Gallatin election day battle of 1838.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Ever since Mormon prophet and founder Joseph Smith revealed the Book of Mormon in 1830, his followers have struggled for acceptance. If you want to understand the "why" behind this rocky relationship, the rolling farmland of northwest Missouri might be the best place to start -- the birthplace of the human race, according to Joseph Smith, and the place where Christ will first step down in the second coming. 

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Health & Wealth Update
10:45 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Who's at fault when an emu attacks?

Art Gelder with his Missouri mulefoot hogs.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Agriculture and tourism are two of Missouri's biggest industries. But when the two activities meet -- think wine tastings or hay rides -- legal complexities ensue. On this week's Health & Wealth update, farmers in Missouri want the legislature to pass a law clarifying who is liable if someone gets hurt in the corn maze.

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Health & Wealth Blog
8:36 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Getting kids to eat their broccoli: interview with Marion Nestle

Writer Marion Nestle.
foodpolitics.com

In this extended interview with food and nutrition writer Marion Nestle, we discuss Michelle Obama's anti-childhood obesity campaign, what food companies are doing to fight it, and how to get kids to eat their broccoli.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:05 am
Wed January 18, 2012

The exercise commonly known as 'jumping jacks'

It's not official yet. But still good exercise.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

In all the political coverage lately, you may have missed Missouri House Bill 1063: it would make "the exercise commonly known and referred to as 'jumping jacks'" the official exercise of the state of Missouri. In this week's Health & Wealth update, could getting more kids jumping help reduce childhood obesity?

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Health & Wealth Update
11:45 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Another roadblock for Missouri health exchange

Republicans in the Missouri Senate want to make sure the governor doesn't create a health care exchange without their consent.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Last session, Republicans in the Missouri Senate blocked the creation of a state-run health insurance exchange. The online insurance marketplace is required under Obama's health reform law, but has become a political football in states like Missouri, with a Republican-controlled legislature. In this week's Health & Wealth update, Republican senators move to put one more roadblock on the path to a state exchange.

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Health & Wealth Update
11:47 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Smoking in the LGBT community

Willem van de Poll flikr

Missouri has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation -- at 21 percent, it's double the rate in states like Utah and California. But some segments of the population smoke even more. In this week's Health & Wealth update, I talk with MU researchers who have found that the smoking rate among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Missourians is much higher than in the population at large.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:05 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Missouri's health slips to 40th in the nation

Missouri's health ranking dropped from 24th in 1990 to 40th in 2011.
americashealthrankings.org

Each year, the United Health Foundation ranks states' health. And almost every year, Missouri drops in the rankings. This year, the Show Me State fell from the 39th spot, to 40th. In this week's Health & Wealth update, why we're getting less healthy and what we can do about it. I speak with Thomas McAuliffe, policy analyst with the Missouri Foundation for Health.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:10 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Dollars, doctors, and drug companies

Missouri doctors have received close to $19 million from drug companies.
propublica.org

In this week's Health & Wealth update, a story about both health and wealth: drug companies have paid doctors in Missouri close to $19 million over the past few years, according to data compiled by the investigative nonprofit, ProPublica. KBIA's Jessica Pupovac has been looking into the financial relationships between Missouri doctors and drug companies, and I sat down to talk with her about what she's found out.

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