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

Iowa News

LRH creates $19 million in economic impact
Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) generated 452 jobs that add more than $19 million to Dickinson County’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association. “Given our mission of improving the health and well-being of the Iowa Great Lakes, we often think about that only in terms of the care we provide and not economic impact,” LRH President and CEO Jason Harrington said. “However, being a large employer, we also impact the economic well-being of the area and in many communities, health care makes up the largest sector of employment.” (Dickinson County News)

Broadlawns Medical Center opens $22 million addition
Many patients at Polk County’s public hospital will start seeing doctors, dentists and counselors in a new building next week, partly thanks to Obamacare. Leaders of Broadlawns Medical Center celebrated the new, four-story addition Thursday. It will house an expanded dental clinic, outpatient mental-health services, addiction treatment, a pain-treatment clinic and a family-practice clinic whose goals will include training young doctors. Part of the reason for the hospital’s success has been that many Iowans who used to lack health insurance now have coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. (Des Moines Register)

More cancer projected in Iowa this year
Researchers project 17,400 new cancer diagnoses in Iowa this year — up from an estimated 16,600 last year, according to a new State Health Registry of Iowa report released Wednesday. The number of Iowans expected to die from cancer this year, however, is projected to dip from the 2016 projection of 6,400 to 6,200 this year, according to the registry, located at the University of Iowa in the College of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. Cancer and heart disease persist in killing the most Iowans annually. The 6,200 deaths expected in 2017 is 18 times the number of auto fatalities, according to the report. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

House sets risky health care vote after trump demands it
In a gamble with monumental political stakes, Republicans set course for a climactic House vote on their health care overhaul after President Donald Trump claimed he was finished negotiating with GOP holdouts and determined to pursue the rest of his agenda, win or lose. House Speaker Paul Ryan set the showdown for Friday, following a nighttime Capitol meeting at which top White House officials told GOP lawmakers that Trump had decided the time for talk was over. In an embarrassing and stinging setback hours earlier, leaders abruptly postponed the vote because a rebellion by conservatives and moderates would have doomed the measure. (Associated Press)

Late move to dump ‘essential’ benefits could stand chronically ill
A last-minute attempt by conservative Republicans to dump standards for health benefits in plans sold to individuals would probably lower the average consumer’s upfront insurance costs, such as premiums and deductibles, said experts on both sides of the debate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But, they add, it will likely also induce insurers to offer much skimpier plans, potentially excluding the gravely ill, and putting consumers at greater financial risk if they need care. What might be desirable for business would leave patients vulnerable. (Kaiser Health News)

CBO says revised GOP health care bill still leaves 24 million uninsured
In the second round of bad news for the revised GOP health care bill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported Thursday that the faltering legislation would still leave 14 million people without health insurance next year and 24 million without coverage in 2026 – the same as the original bill. While the legislation wouldn’t reduce the federal deficit as much as the original bill – $150 billion over the next ten years compared with $337 billion – the identical coverage estimates are yet another blow to GOP leaders whose hopes for the bill’s House passage fizzled Thursday amid stubborn opposition from House conservatives led by the Freedom Caucus. (Miami Herald)

Cost of KanCare expansion debated ahead of key vote
A dispute about the cost and potential benefits of expanding Medicaid eligibility is heating up ahead of a Kansas Senate committee vote on a bill. In testimony Monday to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, supporters of expanding eligibility for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, said expansion would more than pay for itself. An estimated 300,000 Kansans would qualify for coverage under expansion, though only about half that number would enroll in the first year, according to estimates. (KCUR)

Recent events hearten advocates of Georgia’s rural hospitals
This week, the fortunes of rural hospitals in Georgia took a turn for the better. Voters in Monroe and Jefferson counties approved tax increases to help preserve their rural hospitals, which are in financial danger. And a proposed tax credit upgrade for donors to rural hospitals, an idea that had appeared dead in this year’s Georgia General Assembly session, is alive again less than two weeks before the legislators are expected to adjourn. Rural health care in Georgia has been financially endangered for several years. Five rural hospitals have closed in the state since the beginning of 2013, and many others are cash-strapped and looking for help. (Georgia Health News)

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