health care reform

Five Missouri hospitals team up for better care

Jun 25, 2014
Shelby Mann

Five hospitals in Missouri have announced the formation of a collaborative network today. The network is an effort to improve health care and access to health care in Missouri.

The newly formed Health Network of Missouri is composed of Bothwell Regional Health Center in Sedalia, Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach and the University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia.

jay nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon is reiterating his push for Medicaid reform, saying expanding the program would cover the 50,000 currently uninsured Missourians who need mental health services.

Alan Cleaver / flickr

For about two decades, Wendell Potter spun carefully crafted public relations messages for Humana and Cigna, the insurance companies where he worked. He recalls convincing consumers that high-deductible insurance plans would be good for everyone; telling them that by paying more, they’d have more skin in the game of their own health.

“I frankly just got so disillusioned and, ultimately, disgusted with what I was doing,” Potter said.

He said through his own research, he knew high-deductible plans were not the best insurance coverage for those with middle-class income.

“The median household income in this country is just barely $50,000,” Potter said. “A family that’s earning $50,000, if they’re in a plan with a high deductible, they face bankruptcy or foreclosure [if something happens]. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost their homes and have to declare bankruptcy because they have been in these kinds of plans. They think they have adequate coverage and they don’t.”

In 2008, Potter left the insurance industry and became a consumer advocate. He testified in Congress against high-deductible plans. In 2010, he published a book detailing the ways public-relations practices of the insurance industry affect American health care. 

Now, Potter writes columns and travels around the country to debunk what he calls are “myths” about the Affordable Care Act. The law imposes stricter rules on insurance companies. They can no longer refuse coverage for consumers who have a pre-existing condition, for example. Companies also have to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar of a consumer's premium for patient care and quality improvements, not profits or administrative costs. 

On a recent visit to Columbia, Potter sat down with KBIA's Harum Helmy to chat about health care reform and the insurance industry's response to it. 

Office of Missouri Governor

From KBIA’s Health, Wealth and Society Desk, the first installment of a weekly rundown of health news affecting mid-Missouri.

j.stephenconn / Flickr

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

As part yesterday's Supreme Court decision on Obama's health care law, the justices ruled the federal government can't revoke states' Medicaid funding for failing to comply with the law's required Medicaid  expansion. And as Véronique LaCapra reports, that could leave some Missourians without access to health insurance.

Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the federal health care law in a ruling this morning. Among Missouri officials, and on the streets of downtown Columbia this afternoon, reaction was mixed.

Will be updated.

Updated 5:06 p.m. with more information.

As we reported this morning, the Supreme Court has held that the federal healthcare law is constitutional.

That includes the individual mandate that requires almost all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014.

The Court called the penalty that someone must pay for refusing to buy insurance a kind of tax that the Congress can impose under the Constitution.

Health Insurance Exchanges

Some will turn to the online marketplaces known as health insurance exchanges to fulfill the mandate.

The director of health policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health, Ryan Barker, says Missouri is one of a couple dozen states that have resisted setting up a state health insurance exchange.

Supreme Court Upholds Care Health Law

Jun 28, 2012

In one of the most widely anticipated decisions in recent history, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that the sweeping federal law overhauling the nation's health care system is constitutional.

Jay Nixon
File Photo / KBIA

Speaking at ceremonial bill signing in  St. Louis, Governor Nixon sounded more like a Republican when he asked about the Supreme Court’s impending health care ruling.

Angela N. / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court will likely rule on the fate of the federal health care reform law this Thursday. That ruling could affect provisions of the law aimed at improving health in rural America.

Missouri awaits Supreme Court ruling on health reform

Mar 28, 2012
David Sachs / SEIU

Health care reform is in the cross-hairs at the U.S. Supreme Court this week. In this Health & Wealth update, as the nine justices hear oral arguments on Obama's 2010 health reform, implementation of some aspects of the law are on hold in Missouri.

Newscast for March 23, 2012

Mar 23, 2012
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Regional news coverage from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

  • Missouri House committee endorses legislation making it a crime for federal officials to enforce the 2010 federal health care overhaul in Missouri. 
  • Missouri House passes $24 billion state budget. 
  • Missouri flag desecration law declared unconstitutional.

Missouri's senators at odds on contraception coverage

Feb 13, 2012
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The Obama administration continues to come under fire for a rule that would make religious organizations cover contraceptives under employees' health care plans. A compromise announced on Friday has not placated the president's critics, including members of Missouri's congressional delegation.

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.

Senators Get an Earful on Health Reform

Nov 11, 2011
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."

Full Interview with Lt. Governor Kinder

Nov 3, 2011

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."

Health Reform Moves Toward the Supreme Court

Nov 2, 2011

Missourians have never been in love with health reform. A year ago, Missouri was the first to pass a state law prohibiting an individual insurance mandate. It was a largely symbolic rejection of the Affordable Care Act, but now, more serious obstacles are looming. Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder is one of dozens of officials from around the country challenging "Obamacare" in the courts.

In this weekly Health & Wealth update, the Affordable Care Act moves toward the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Paying for Quality, Not Quantity

Oct 28, 2011

In the United States, we pay a lot more for our health care than other wealthy countries, but we are no healthier.  Missourians actually pay even more per capita than the U.S. average, and are even less healthy. (Missouri is ranked 39th in the nation in overall health, and we are the 9th most obese state.) A big part of the problem is the way we pay for health care, according to Harold Miller, executive director of the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.

Report Says Health Reform Will Provide Financial Boost

Oct 26, 2011
Affordable Care Act /

In 2019, the average Missouri family will be $1,471 richer. That’s how much the average family will save on health care each year once Obama’s reform law takes full effect, according to a new study by Families USA, a pro-reform group. 

Most Missourians Still Oppose Health Care Law

Sep 13, 2011

Americans now know less about the main provisions of Obama’s health care reform law than they did at the end of last year. That’s according to the latest monthly poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Here in Missouri, a majority continues to oppose the law.