health & wealth update

Health & Wealth Update
10:03 am
Wed May 2, 2012

If you tax them, they will quit

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, for every ten percent rise in cigarette prices, smoking rates decline by three to five percent.
tobaccofreekids.org

You have probably heard the statistic: Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation – just 17 cents a pack, compared to the national average of $1.46. In this week's Health & Wealth update, public health advocates want to raise Missouri's tobacco tax to deter people from smoking, and to help offset the costs that tobacco incurs.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:31 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Contraception debate moves to the Missouri House

Republican State Senator John Lamping, of St. Louis County.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Debate continues in the Missouri legislature over the Obama administration's "contraception mandate," which will require health insurance to include coverage for birth control. In this week's Health & Wealth update, a House committee hears testimony on a largely symbolic bill, opposing the mandate.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:49 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Rising autism rate means more parents getting help

Scott Shade's eight-year-old son is autistic.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

According to the latest estimate from the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 88 children in the United States has autism, almost double the rate ten years ago. In this week's Health & Wealth update, while more children are being diagnosed with the disorder, more parents are getting the help they need to treat it.

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Health & Wealth Update
10:09 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Missouri awaits Supreme Court ruling on health reform

Supporters and opponents of the Affordable Care Act hold competing rallies outside the Supreme Court this week.
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.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:05 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Report highlights gender gap in health, work, and politics

Women's Policy Alliance board members, from left to right: Kristin Metcalf-Wilson, Margaret Eaton, and Carolyn Sullivan
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Sixty-two percent of working-age women have jobs, but they still earn just 74 cents on the dollar, compared to men. But that disparity varies by region; in some rural counties, women earn fully half what men do. In this week's Health & Wealth update, a new report on how women in Missouri are faring in health, work, education, and civic engagement. With a state legislature that's three-quarters men, will lawmakers do anything about the disparities?

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 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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