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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Poverty’s impact on a child’s mental health
Growing up in poverty exposes children to greater levels of stress, which can lead to psychological problems later in life, a new study suggests. Researchers at Cornell University reported that kids who grow up poor are more likely to have reduced short-term spatial memory. The study also reported that such kids seem to be more prone to antisocial and aggressive behavior, such as bullying. Of course, the findings don’t mean that all children growing up in poverty will have these problems, only that the risk is higher, the researchers said. (Quad-City Times)

Iowa lawmakers begin session amid GOP vows of major change
Republican leaders on Monday kicked off the new session of the Iowa Legislature with a promise to make major changes to the workings of state government, though the party with new majorities in both chambers remained mum about specific details on plans to cut taxes, restrict abortion and limit the ability of public workers to bargain for health insurance. Republicans did not specify how they would achieve any tax cuts despite a roughly $110 million budget shortfall in the state’s $7.3 billion budget. (Associated Press/Quad-City Times)

Branstad to tout smaller, smarter government
In 1999, Iowans thought they heard Governor Terry Branstad’s final Condition of the State address. Now, 18 years later, as the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, it appears Tuesday’s address to a joint convention of the 87th Iowa General Assembly will mark his farewell message as the state’s chief executive with expectations he will become U.S. ambassador to China in the coming months. “The theme of my speech is going to be smaller, smarter government,” Branstad said in a recent interview. (Quad-City Times)

National News

Patients waiting in emergency rooms for New Hampshire to fix mental health system
Emergency departments are often the doorstep to New Hampshire Hospital, the state’s psychiatric hospital in Concord. But on any given day there’s an average of 28 people with acute mental health symptoms waiting to get in. And that number has been climbing, says Suellen Griffin, the president of West Central Behavioral Health. But if patients have a severe mental illness they could wait days or even weeks before getting a hospital bed in New Hampshire. Families and mental health professionals are looking to the Republican-controlled statehouse for a solution. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

Nonprofit providing for health care in rural West Virginia counties
A Hurricane nonprofit is using nearly $1 million in government and private funds to finance a rotating loan fund for health care in 26 rural West Virginia counties. The Center for Rural Health Development Inc.’s West Virginia Rural Health Infrastructure Loan Fund project is designed to strengthen the health care industry in nearly half of the state’s counties. Sharon Lansdale, the center’s president and CEO, said the organization differs from many others throughout the nation because it partners with public and private health care providers. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Missourians brace for loss of health insurance as Congress moves to dismantle Obamacare
As Republicans begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some consumers in Missouri are bracing for life without health insurance coverage. “We’ve made some pretty significant gains,” said Ryan Barker, vice president of health policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health. “Missourians stand a lot to lose with the ACA if it would get repealed.” In Missouri, nearly 250,000 consumers have picked a health plan on for 2017 coverage. A majority of them receive financial help to afford the coverage. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

GOP governors fight uphill battle to save Medicaid expansion
An effort by Republican governors in Medicaid expansion states to show the expansion is worth keeping is unlikely to influence congressional Republicans in their drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its expansion of coverage to low-income adults. Medicaid expansion advocates hope the governors’ lobbying will cause congressional Republicans to think twice before wiping out the coverage extension that has brought billions of federal dollars into their states. Congressional Republicans seem determined to roll back Medicaid expansion, arguing it’s unaffordable for both the federal government and the states. (Modern Healthcare)

Republicans scramble to ease concerns about Obamacare replacement
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to ease growing concerns among GOP lawmakers about rushing to repeal the federal health-care law before plans for a replacement take firmer shape, addressing complications to the effort to deliver on one of the party’s signature campaign promises. In the Senate, where Republicans are using a budget package to move swiftly ahead with repeal, leaders are looking at ways to adjust their plans to address the skittishness that GOP senators have voiced in recent days. (Washington Post)

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