Ongoing Coverage:

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 Blog
3:45 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Versus urban areas, rural Missouri has poorer health, fewer doctors

According to the Missouri Hospital Association, some 500,000 additional people will enroll in health insurance between now and 2019. That's expected to put some serious strain on the rural health system. Click through for more graphics.
Lydia Mulvany KBIA

Health is generally poorer in rural Missouri compared to urban areas, yet there is a distinct shortage of primary care physicians in rural Missouri. KBIA’s Jacob Fenston has reported that the shortage is only expected to worsen over the next ten years as the elderly population expands.

This graphic shows some of these inequalities--click through for more detail.  Created by Lydia Mulvany.

Health & Wealth Update
7:02 am
Wed December 7, 2011

World AIDS Day marks 30 years

World AIDS Day was December 1. In Columbia, residents held a candle-light vigil at the corner of College and Broadway.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

This year marks a grim birthday: it was thirty years ago that the first AIDS victims were officially diagnosed. Though the rate of new HIV infections in the US has stabilized in recent years, the percentage of those in rural areas has been on the rise. In this weekly Health & Wealth update, World AIDS Day.

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Health & Wealth Report
7:30 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Growing doctors in rural Missouri

Dr. Dale Essmeyer shows Milan High student Kaylee Michael how to take blood pressure.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

In rural Missouri, there are roughly half as many primary care doctors per person, compared to urban parts of the state.  That's a problem, when you consider that rural residents are also older (about three years, on average) and poorer (about five percent more live in poverty). In this Health & Wealth report, small towns in Missouri are facing the shortage by "growing their own" doctors and nurses, starting as early as middle school.

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Health & Wealth Blog
9:31 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Time to sign up for Medicare

Medicare open enrollment ends December 7.
medicare.gov

For seniors and people with disabilities, now's the time to sign up for or review Medicare coverage. This year, Medicare's open enrollment period ends a lot earlier than usual. 

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Health & Wealth Update
9:35 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Rural post offices hoping for a break

Old-timey post office boxes in Arrow Rock hearken back to a time before Facebook, when snail-mail was king.
Austin Fax KBIA

The US Postal Service is hemorrhaging money – over the past year, it lost more than $5 billion. To staunch the negative cash flow, the postmaster general is looking at closing nearly 3,700 post offices – the vast majority in rural America. In this week's Health & Wealth update, KBIA's Austin Fax checks in to some very small towns where post offices may be on the chopping block.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:56 am
Wed November 23, 2011

Rural women diagnosed later

Faustine Williams

Women in rural Missouri are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a late stage than women in urban or suburban counties. In this weekly Health & Wealth update, the urban / rural disparity in breast cancer detection. 

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Health & Wealth Blog
8:23 am
Mon November 21, 2011

Should Medical School Be Free?

Peter Bach is a doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
mskcc.org

Heck yeah!! So should lunch. But two researchers say making medical school free could send more young doctors into primary care and rural practice, thus solving one of the big challenges facing health care today. And they've got a way to pay for it too.

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Health & Wealth Blog
9:30 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Missouri Health Premiums Below National Average

Missouri families pay close to twenty percent of income on health insurance premiums. If that sounds like a lot, stay away from Mississippi. Families in that state pay the highest percentage of their income toward health insurance: 28 percent. This, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund.

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Health & Wealth Blog
12:13 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

It's Rural Health Day!

celebratepowerofrural.org

To celebrate, experts from non-profits and government agencies are holding a live webinar on some of the challenges and rewards of providing health care to rural America.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:03 am
Wed November 16, 2011

One Person's Travelocity is Another's Government Takeover

The left-leaning crowd in St. Louis waved signs as senators listened to over three hours of testimony.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Backers compare health insurance exchanges to Travelocity or Expedia. Websites where you can quickly compare prices and features to get the best deal. But detractors oppose them as a federal intrusion into the health care market. In this weekly Health & Wealth update, Missourians debate the merits of Obama's health reform law, as state lawmakers try to decide whether to authorize an exchange.

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Health & Wealth Report
9:09 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Six Months After the Storm, Runners in Joplin Get Back on Their Feet

The Joplin Road Runners, after a pre-dawn run.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Six months ago, an EF5 tornado plowed through the center of Joplin, leaving about one-fifth of the city's population without a home. Now, people are slowly getting back to normal. For some, normal means lacing up the running shoes and hitting the streets.

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Health & Wealth Blog
10:06 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Senators Get an Earful on Health Reform

From front to back: Senators Scott Rupp, Jane Cunningham, Joseph Keaveny, and Jim Lembke.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Missouri state senators listened to over 3 hours of impassioned testimony on health care reform yesterday. The hearing was supposed to be on the rather mundane question of whether Missouri should set up an online health care exchange starting in 2014, or let the federal government do so. But the hearing quickly became a forum for debating the merits of health reform itself. After the jump, two interviews with senators on the committee: a Democrat representing one of the state's most liberal districts, and a Republican who has been at the forefront of Missouri's pushback against "Obamacare."

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Health & Wealth Update
3:18 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

Audrain Voters Plump for Public Health

Voters came out 60 percent in favor of the health center initiative.
Garrett Bergquist KBIA

Missouri is ranked 50th among the states in funding for public health, spending about one third of the national average. Audrain County spends even less, just $7.90 per person. In this weekly Health & Wealth update, voters in Audrain went to the polls yesterday and approved a new property tax that will keep the county's struggling health department afloat. I spoke with reporter Garrett Bergquist, who has been driving around Audrain talking to voters.

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Health & Wealth Blog
10:12 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Political Points vs. Sound Policy?

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has long been a critic of health care reform.
governor.ks.gov

Republican lawmakers in red states are in a pickle. The Affordable Care Act requires each state to set up a health care exchange designed to bring down insurance costs for consumers. Republicans want no part of anything related to Obama's health care reform law, which they see as a federal intrusion on states rights. But if state lawmakers don't set up an exchange, the federal government will. In September, Republican senators in Missouri prevented the state from accepting $21 million of federal money to lay the groundwork for an exchange. Next door, the Sunflower State is in a similar quandary, reports Bryan Thompson of Kansas Public Radio.

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Health & Wealth Blog
11:47 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Full Interview with Lt. Governor Kinder

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.
TeamKinder

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder takes aim at "Obamacare," and Democratic rivals. We discuss his legal challenge to what he calls "the federal health control law," and why he thinks his lawsuit will likely end up before the Supreme Court. We also cover some political turf: Kinder compares his style of leadership with that of Governor Jay Nixon. Missourians, says Kinder, "want a fighter, not someone who will lie down and just take dictation from our federal masters."

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