health care

daveynin, flickr Creative Commons

The rate of uninsured Kansas now stands at 11.3 percent, compared with 12.5 percent in 2013, according to a Gallup survey published Monday.

Nationwide, the uninsured rate plunged from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent through the first half of this year. Seven of the 10 states with the biggest reductions in uninsured rates implemented Medicaid expansion and established a marketplace while two did one or the other, according to Gallup.

Alex Smith, Heartland Health Monitor

    

Early on a Monday morning, percussionist and music teacher Amy Hearting of Kansas City reads a newspaper outside a coffee shop before going off to teach an elementary school workshop.

She loves her work but says she’s not in it for the benefits and certainly not for the big salary.

“I feel like I’m doing what I want to be doing in life,” Hearting says. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with health insurance, and it doesn’t really come with an annual income where that is an easy reality for me.”

Legislators are making progress on a measure that would mandate that insurance companies provide health coverage and treatment for Kansas children diagnosed with autism.

The issue has been the topic of debate in the Statehouse for several sessions and is moving closer to reality. Coverage would help families cope with the cost of providing treatment for autistic children.

The House voted 114-3 on Friday to send the bill to the Senate where its passage was uncertain.

A House committee has advanced a bill aimed at exempting Kansas from the federal health care overhaul.

State Representative Brett Hildabrand, a Shawnee Republican, said that if the bill ends up passing, it could move Kansas towards gaining more control over federal health care programs.

“The broad federal approach tries to apply a cookie-cutter approach to every state. I believe that’s too broad and we need to put it back at the state level,” Hildabrand said.

Kansas' health care exchange is online now at Healthcare.gov.

However, some proponents of the federal health care law that created the marketplace think consumers should wait until any glitches have been fixed before they buy coverage.

Sheldon Weisgrau of the Health Reform Resource Project says people can start buying coverage through the exchange today, but they don't have to. They have until December 15 if they want their coverage to start in January.

The federal online marketplace for health insurance opens October 1.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, most Americans are required to have insurance beginning in 2014. This part of the law, referred to as the “individual mandate,” is designed to increase the number of consumers in the total insurance pool, with the intention of lowering premiums across the board.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced $150 million in new grant money for federally-funded community health centers around the country.

The grants--at least $55,000 each--are through the Affordable Care Act and only available to safety net clinics that are already federally funded. More than $1.7 million has been set aside for 16 community health centers in Kansas.

Sebelius says they'll use the money to help uninsured patients determine their eligibility and compare coverage options.

Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Expands To Wichita

Apr 12, 2013

A competitive bidding program aimed at helping Medicare avoid overpaying for products like scooters, diabetic testing supplies, and oxygen tanks is being expanded to 91 communities nationwide, including Wichita.

The program began a little more than two years ago as a demonstration project in nine communities, including Kansas City.

Education hearings continue at Statehouse; Bill would bar health accreditation; Tour will help gauge needs of older Kansans.

Hearings Continue On Education Funding Amendment

A committee in the Kansas Senate continued hearings Thursday on a constitutional amendment that could block some lawsuits over school funding. The proposed change to the state Constitution says only the Legislature can set school spending levels.

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Pittsburg Hospital Set To Break Ground For Expansion

Nov 13, 2012
tedeytan / Flickr

A southeast Kansas hospital will break ground next week on an $18 million expansion.

Construction of the new surgery center at Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg will begin November 19. Crossland Construction Company, of Columbus, Kansas, was chosen recently as the general contractor for the 40,000-square-foot addition.

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