Science and Technology

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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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
4:02 am
Mon November 7, 2011

Secret 'Watch List' Reveals Failure To Curb Toxic Air

The Continental Carbon plant sits on the southern outskirts of Ponca City, Okla. Until August, the plant was on an internal EPA "watch list," for violating rules of the Clean Air Act.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu November 10, 2011 1:02 pm

Part 1 of a four-part series, Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

The system Congress set up 21 years ago to clean up toxic air pollution still leaves many communities exposed to risky concentrations of benzene, formaldehyde, mercury and many other hazardous chemicals.

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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
4:00 am
Mon November 7, 2011

Oklahoma Town Battles Powdery Carbon Pollution

The Continental Carbon plant sits on the southern outskirts of Ponca City, Okla. Residents blamed the plant, which produces a black dust known as carbon black, for polluting their city.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu November 10, 2011 12:55 pm

Part 2 of a four-part series, Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

Karen Howe couldn't believe her luck. As a single mom working a minimum-wage job and living with two kids in a crowded one-bedroom apartment in Ponca City, Okla., she was desperate for a three-bedroom house and a lawn.

Howe, a member of the Ponca tribe, was offered tribal housing in a small, tree-lined subdivision of 11 homes on the southern, rural edge of the city.

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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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Global Journalist
5:27 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Reporting on Pandemics and Contagious Diseases

Journalists discussed their experiences covering emerging infectious diseases.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization warned in August about “a possible major resurgence” of the bird flu because a mutant form of the virus was recently found in Vietnam and Cambodia. Other flu viruses, including strains of swine flu, are occasionally resurfacing in different parts of the world.

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Under The Microscope
12:02 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Under the Microscope: November 3, 2011

Brett O’Brien checks an ash tree branch for signs of infestation in a Columbia Parks and Recreation Department workshop.
Camille Phillips KBIA

This week on the show: do you know what's living in your firewood? Plus, new cultivars could change Missouri's wine industry.

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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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Health & Wealth Update
6:10 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Health Reform Moves Toward the Supreme Court

ltgov.mo.gov

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. 

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Science, Health and Technology
12:34 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

In Kansas, Politics Over 'Obamacare' Strains Policy

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback answers questions in July about his policy regarding the new federal health care law. During his campaign for the governor's office last year, he said: "What we'll do in Kansas is we'll do what we're required to do, but we're gonna fight it all the way."
John Hanna AP

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 5:40 pm

A few months ago, Kansas seemed ahead of the game in preparing for an important requirement of the federal health law. The state had started to plan for exchanges — online marketplaces to help individuals and small businesses compare and buy health insurance.

But politics is intervening.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:45 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

School of Medicine Receives Military Training Grant

MU’s School of Medicine has received a $5.3 million grant to research the effectiveness of current military medical training methods.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:29 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Missouri Authorities Investigate E. Coli Outbreak

Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria.
Microbe World Flickr

Missouri authorities are investigating an E. coli outbreak that has led to nine hospitalizations and 33 confirmed ill.

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Science, Health and Technology
11:54 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Hearings Discuss Cuts to Social Services

State employees and other advocates share their testimony Saturday at the MU campus.
KBIA

Community leaders hosted a statewide video conference Saturday to discuss the impact of the ongoing cuts and consolidations to Missouri’s social services.

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Health & Wealth Blog
6:53 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Paying for Quality, Not Quantity

Harold Miller is president and CEO of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and the executive director of the national Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.
futurestrategies.org

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.

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Under The Microscope
5:25 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Under the Microscope: October 27, 2011

The aurora borealis, as seen from Norway.
Billy Idle Flickr

This week on the show: kids are spending more time in front of digital screens. Plus, the aurora borealis shows itself in the Missouri sky.

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Health & Wealth Blog
4:02 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

States to Pick Up Medicaid Costs

Total Medicaid spending growth (dark blue) compared to state spending (light blue). In 2009 and 2010 state spending fell sharply as federal stimulus money came to the rescue. Now the reverse is happening.
kff.org

During the Great Recession, as the ranks of poor and unemployed swelled, enrollment in Medicaid shot up, growing by 7.8 percent in 2009. At the same time, state tax revenues collapsed by nearly 17 percent. States couldn't afford to pay their share of Medicaid costs, and Congress came to the rescue with the Recovery Act, boosting federal Medicaid funding by around $103 billion. But the recovery dollars ran out in June, and now states are facing the biggest yearly increase in Medicaid costs in history, according to projections by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Missouri already spends over a quarter of the state budget on Medicaid.

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