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Idea of a Statewide Health Insurance Contract Met with Confusion, Skepticism

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad proposes changing how the state provides health insurance for state employees. In his Condition of the State message earlier this month, he proposed replacing more than 400 existing plans with one statewide contract. “Just a few adverse health outcomes can destroy the budget of a city, county or school district,” Branstad said. “By replacing this system with one, comprehensive health-care contract, we can spread the risk and dramatically reduce costs.” It’s a...

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A program to benefit fine arts instruction in Iowa classrooms is on the chopping block, as the Iowa legislature considers Governor Branstad’s education budget for next year.  

The governor recommends eliminating a $25,000 appropriation for a mentoring program for fine arts teachers.  

Through the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education, teachers raised money from the private sector and were expecting a matching grant from  the state.

As Congressional Republicans begin work on repealing the Affordable Care Act, many of the nation's governors want to make sure that their state budgets don't take a hit during the dismantling process.

They're most concerned about Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor that's run jointly by the states and federal government. As a result of a Supreme Court decision, states were allowed to decide whether they would expand Medicaid under the ACA. 14 million people have gained health insurance coverage through Medicaid since eligibility for the program was expanded.

When Ali Andrew Li was born on Jan. 7, he was gently placed on his mother's chest, where doctors cleaned and examined him and covered him with a warm blanket.

"I just loved it," his mother, Salma Shabaik, a family physician who lives in Los Angeles, says. "It was really nice to have the baby right there beneath my eyes where I could feel him, touch him, kiss him."

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad proposes changing how the state provides health insurance for state employees.  In his Condition of the State message earlier this month, he proposed replacing more than 400 existing plans with one statewide contract.

“Just a few adverse health outcomes can destroy the budget of a city, county or school district,” Branstad said. “By replacing this system with one, comprehensive health-care contract, we can spread the risk and dramatically reduce costs.”

It’s a statement that is confusing to educators.

Emboldened by Donald Trump's win and inauguration, several of Europe's top populist leaders gathered in Germany this weekend to strategize on how they might help each other in their upcoming national elections.

Marine Le Pen, who heads France's far-right National Front, proved especially popular with the largely German crowd that packed a convention hall yesterday in the historic western city of Koblenz, nestled between the scenic Rhine and Mosel Rivers.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone Sunday, in what was one of Trump's first conversations with a foreign leader since taking office.

The discussion was "very nice," Trump said after a ceremony to swear in senior White House staff. The White House later put out a statement saying the president invited Netanyahu to visit in February.

Gambia's defeated leader Yahya Jammeh has departed the country, after a weeks-long standoff as he tried to maintain his grip on power which culminated in West African troops crossing Gambia's borders.

Now, the country is awaiting the arrival of new president Adama Barrow. He fled to Senegal for his own protection and was sworn in at Gambia's embassy in Dakar last week.

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Featured Release This Week From The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips have been bringing their psychedelically-informed sound to listeners for over 30 years. They have established themselves as a must-see live act (did I see you at the Gentlemen of the Road tour, Waverly, summer 2015?) On record, Wayne Coyne and company have been as creative, experimental and out-there as anyone, but they have also recorded music that is melodic, accessible and song-oriented. The Soft Bulletin (1999) and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002) are in that vein,...

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SOI 2017 Season Opens with Des Moines Symphony's "Beethoven’s Ode to Joy!"

IPR’s Symphonies of Iowa is back for the New Year! The season kicks off on Sunday, January 22nd at 4 p.m. and again on Monday, January 23rd at 7 p.m. with the Des Moines Symphony presenting their season debut concert “Beethoven’s Ode to Joy!” under Joseph Giunta with The Drake Choir, the Simpson College Chamber Singers, and the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble. Soloists include flutist Kayla Burggraf, violinist Jonathan Sturm, Gregory Hand at the harpsichord, soprano Mary Ellen Giunta, alto...

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