Affordable Care Act

Do you have questions about the Affordable Care Act? Are you trying to enroll in the new health exchanges? Do you know how the ACA will impact your bottom line? Join Iowa Public Radio’s reporters and talk shows as we report on the implementation of Obamacare. We’ll share news and issues as the health exchanges begin enrollment, businesses react to the law’s implementation, how the new law will impact Iowans, and what this means for the country.

Do you have questions you want answered or a story idea related to the ACA? Share it with our News team, and be a part of developing our reporting around the Affordable Care Act.

Or, consider joining the IPR Insight Network, where you may be called upon to provide knowledge and experience to help Iowa Public Radio in our reporting efforts. Sign Up here.

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Ebola
6:30 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Iowa Hospitals Prepare for Ebola

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is undergoing
Jon Favrel Flickr

Though there’s only been two cases in the United States, hospitals across the nation and across Iowa are preparing for the possibility of caring for Ebola patients.

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Healthcare
3:50 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Residency Opportunities Lacking for Young Doctors

Des Moines University's campus in Des Moines, Iowa
Wikimedia Commons

Medical schools are accepting more applicants into their programs, but training programs for doctors after medical school aren't keeping up. 

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Health
1:44 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Living with Parkinson's Disease: "It helps define who I am, but it's not a negative"

Emily Woodbury

Andrew Duarte was only 31 years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. One of the biggest questions he had was, “What can I expect?”

“And there’s not really a good answer for that,” he says.

Today on Talk of Iowa - living with Parkinson’s disease. Host Charity Nebbe sits down with two Parkinson's patients and a clinical researcher to talk about recent developments in Parkinson’s research and find out what it’s like to live with the disease.

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River to River
5:52 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Iowans Weigh in on Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision

Nicholas Eckhart

Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby can be seen as "narrow" or "broad" - depending on how it's looked at. Today on River to River, we ask a political scientist and a legal expert what implications this ruling has for the future.

Today's guests include: Scott Peters, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, and Mark Kende, Professor of Law at Drake and the Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center.

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Health
1:19 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Iowa Doctor Receives Governor's Award for Work in Haiti

Dr. Christopher Buresh first visited Haiti in 2003. Today, he says he thinks about the trip every day. He’d been to India and Peru before going to Haiti but says the poverty he saw there was unique. “It really blew me away that this was a 90 minute plane flight from Miami.”

He talks about mountains of trash and plastic, and women who cut their umbilical cords with broken glass or a rock for lack of a clean blade.

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Politics Day
3:06 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Primaries a Bellweather for Iowa's U.S. Senate Race?

USA.gov

On Tuesday, six states held nominating contests and the Republican establishment scored big wins. Are the results a bellwether for Iowa’s primaries in less than two weeks?  Political analysts Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa give us their thoughts on the primaries for open congressional seats here in Iowa.  Host Ben Kieffer asks how the issues of minimum wage and the Affordable Care Act are being talked about by Iowa's GOP candidates for U.S. Senate.
 

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News
5:30 am
Fri May 2, 2014

In Medical Billing, Everyone Pays a Different Price

Karla Vaquerano-Serio (right) and Krystal Nichols are patient advocates at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In a small room stuffed with cubicles at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, a team of patient advocates answers phones, enters data, and determines who is eligible for financial assistance.

When a patient at Mercy is faced with a hospital bill they can’t pay, they come here. Team leader Karla Vaquerano-Serio says many times, it’s only a matter of helping a patient sign up for a federal program they didn’t realize they qualified for.

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Health Care
4:21 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

The Influence of Insurance on Your Hospital Bill

Common hospital billing and insurance terms
Emily Woodbury, via Wordle

A trip to the emergency room is expensive, even for more routine procedures. Take for example, Ron Smith, an Indianola resident whose $24,240 bill for a rabies vaccination was negotiated down by $17,627 by his insurance company.

Today, the third installment in our examination of hospital costs. We find out how insurance negotiations play into how much you pay for that ER visit, how Iowa’s insurance landscape may change through the Affordable Care Act, and how the number of visits to the ER may be affected by Obamacare.

Today's guests include:

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Health Care
4:52 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Delivering Better and More Affordable Care to Emergency Room "Super-Users"

Dr. Joshua Pruitt at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids
Durrie Bouscaren

Some Iowans visit hospital emergency rooms more than 15 times a year. They’re known as “frequent-flyers” or super-users of the ER. Today on River to River, how our system handles them.

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News
5:21 am
Thu April 10, 2014

How a Cedar Rapids Emergency Room Saved Millions, and What it Means for the Whole State

Theresa Brown, who is enrolled in the coordinated care program at St. Luke's, sits in her home in Cedar Rapids.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Emergency Rooms are often the catch-all of the medical world, where patients can receive care at any hour, regardless of their ability to pay.

But physicians and hospital administrators say it’s an expensive and disjointed way for people to receive care, particularly when patients visit the ER multiple times a year.

A pilot program to manage care for ER ‘super users’ in Cedar Rapids is now in its third year—and administrators say it saves St. Luke’s Hospital about a million dollars annually.

Coordinating Care for Multiple Diagnoses

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Politics Day
4:18 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Opening the Floodgates for Money in Politics

401(K)2012 / flickr

Four years after the Citizens United ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has made a landmark decision that frees the nation's wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections. Today on politics day, analysis of the court's decision.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Stephen Schmidt and Timothy Hagle.

Also, a last-minute enrollment surge enabled the White House to meet its original sign-up target for the Affordable Care Act, a surprising victory for the Obama administration. How does this change the political landscape?

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Health Care
8:07 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Behind the Numbers on Your Hospital Bill

Dr. Thomas Striegel treats a patient in the emergency room
Nick Oza The Arizona Republic

In the emergency room, the last thing you want to think about is what your bill is going to look like. But, weeks later you will receive a bill in the mail; and you might experience some sticker shock.

Today on River to River, we seek to answer your hospital billing questions. Questions like: why does an aspirin cost upwards of $15, when I can get a generic bottle at the drug store at 2 cents a pop?

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News
5:21 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Murky World of Emergency Room Billing

Five months after a bicycle accident, Martha Norbeck wonders if some of the charges on her ER bill could have been avoided.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

No matter how you slice it, medical care is expensive—especially in an emergency.

Martha Norbeck shuffles through paperwork as she looks back over her itemized hospital bill from a bike accident five months ago.

“Just to have the guy come to the ER to do my stitches was $460, the six stitches was $846… so that was $140 a stitch or something?” Norbeck muses. 

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Health
6:49 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Rural Iowa Cancer Care Challenges Highlighted in New Report

Credit asco.org

The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is expected to provide millions more Americans with health insurance coverage. But a new report says the ACA alone may not solve disparities in cancer care. The University of Iowa partnered with the American Society of Clinical Oncology recently and released the State of Cancer Care in America: 2014. 

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Health Care
4:38 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Ethical Questions Surrounding Brain Death

Garrett Brockway, who passed away from brain trauma a year ago and lives on through his organ donations
Courtesy of Brockway family

This winter, two stories gained national attention regarding brain-dead pregnant women and their unborn children. One husband kept his wife on life support until the baby was born, while the other husband fought to take his wife off life support.

Today on River to River, we discuss ethical questions in the emergency room. Host Ben Kieffer looks at these cases with medical professionals and with Iowans who have been through similar situations here in Iowa.

Today's guests include:

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Politics Day
4:02 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Olympics Don't Ease U.S. Russian Strain

U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul greets President Obama
whitehouse.gov

Just outside the spotlight of these Olympic games in Sochi, Russia and the U.S. are navigating a tense point in their relationship.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College and Tim Hagel, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa about the tension and the ongoing cooperation between the U.S and Russia.  They also reflect on the U.S.

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Politics Day
3:19 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Pipeline Politics

A new U.S. State Department report raises no major environmental objections to the possible construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but the report is being treated differently by Democrats and Republicans.  That and other political news; analysts for this Politics Day include Steffen Schmidt from Iowa State University and Bruce Nesmith from Coe College.

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News Buzz
1:06 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

You Have Neanderthal Genes

Neanderthal Mother (detail of diorama) in Anthropos Pavilion, Brno, Czech Republic
Jaroslav A. Polák

For our weekly news buzz program, we get a review of the pending U.S. farm bill that is moving through Congress, how businesses are dealing with the Affordable Care Act, modern humans have a surprising amount of genes that come from Neanderthals, an important piece of art is returning to Iowa, a new  smartphone app designed in Iowa with which users can hear and see how to pronounce certain foreign language sounds, and we hear from a couple mayors of towns on this year’s RAGBRAI route. 

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Health
5:20 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Iowa Medicaid Alternative Shows Fed's Flexibility

Jerry Gross, who's 56 and homeless, waits in line at the Central Shelter and Services to talk with a healthcare navigator.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

More than twenty states have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, leaving many Americans below the poverty line with few health insurance options. Some states are coming up with their own low-income health plans which would give them some of the federal money set aside for Medicaid expansions while writing their own rules. Federal authorities approved Iowa’s alternative proposal. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports… the rest of the country is taking note. 

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Health
7:45 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Feds Approve Iowa's Medicaid Expansion Alternative - Mostly

Credit differentieel / Flickr

A months-long battle over health insurance for thousands of uninsured low-income Iowans has moved closer to resolution.  The federal government agreed to most of the plan Iowa adopted instead of  simply expanding Medicaid. But the feds say the poorest individuals should not have to pay premiums, as proposed under the Iowa plan.

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Health Care
2:45 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Health Insurance Updates

Christopher Penn

Two months after its disastrous launch, government officials say HealthCare.gov is now working 90 percent of the time and can handle the promised capacity of 50,000 users at any given time. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer checks in with public policy experts, Pete Damiano and Dan Shane, as well as Wellmark's Blue Cross Blue Shield CFO David Brown. Then, Des Moines psychiatrist Dr. Joyce Vista-Wayne discusses the mental health provisions added to the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
10:37 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Health Care Outreach Workers Stretched Thin

Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines is one of the places offering help to Iowans needing help signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Broadlawns Medical Center

Even if the rollout of the federal health law had gone off without a technical hitch, getting millions of Americans to sign up for insurance would still be a tall order. That’s why the law includes funding for workers trained to help people find their way around the new system. But in rural states like Iowa, with populations spread across hundreds of miles, those workers face an especially daunting challenge.

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