health care

Esther Honig

This summer, more than 200 teams from around the world competed in KCRW's third International Radio Race. Participants were given the theme "Time Change" and 24 hours to produce a short radio story.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In 2009, Mary Kay O'Connor was preparing to restart her consulting business. Her specialty was collecting customers' stories to provide meaningful feedback to her clients. The Affordable Care Act was in the news, and she became interested in the data collected by the federal government — data that showed hospitals performing poorly but without much information on how they could improve.

She may not have been the typical startup entrepreneur – but an idea took hold.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A health care company that serves veterans and their families is adding 500 jobs in Kansas City.

“Our privilege as a corporation is to do one thing,” said David McIntyre, president and CEO of TriWest, “and that is to be there for the federal government to assist them in serving those who serve.”

McIntyre says TriWest picked Kansas City because of Missouri’s “Show-Me Heroes” program, an initiative to get business to hire veterans.

U.S. House of Representatives

Kansas 4th District Congressman Mike Pompeo has agreed to co-sponsor a joint resolution that would allow states to form a health care compact and, potentially, circumvent parts of the Affordable Care Act.

“Mike has agreed to be a part of the health care compact because he views it as one of the last remaining opportunities to protect Kansans from the disaster that is the Affordable Care Act,” Heather Denker, a spokesperson for Pompeo’s office, said in an email.

Pompeo, she said, believes the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will “drive up costs for the poorest people in Kansas and diminish access, especially in the rural areas of Kansas.”

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

Seft Hunter became chief operating officer last year of Communities Creating Opportunity, a faith-based organization that addresses poverty-related issues. As part of its campaign to promote health access and equity, CCO, working with the REACH Healthcare Foundation and other groups, has been mapping medical “hot spots” in the metropolitan area in an effort to better manage residents’ chronic conditions, improve access to health care and reduce emergency room visits.

In recent years, women in Kansas and Missouri have found it harder to access complete health care. In this edition of Up to Date, we talk with two providers about the reasons healthcare access is more difficult. We also discuss the challenges health centers face in providing care, and the difficulties patients face in accessing care. 


When it comes to getting medical treatment it’s good to live in America. Here we get the finest health care in the world, have confidence in the doctors we see and our hospitals are the best places to be when we’re ill. Not so says healthcare consultant John Leifer.

On this edition of Up to Date, Leifer talks with Steve Krasek to expose these and other myths of modern medicine in this country including this one: we’re the patients so we’re not part of the problem.


The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is asking the public what its priorities should be as the first step in a new health initiative.

Healthy KC is a collaboration introduced Wednesday by the Chamber, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and local health leaders. The group will focus on improving health throughout the metro area.

“The message behind the new Healthy KC Commission is, ‘We’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired,’” Chamber CEO Jim Heeter said in a statement Wednesday.

ulrichkarljoho / Flickr - CC

Even if we try to deny it, we can't escape getting older. Almost three-fourths of people who reach the age of 65 are going to need some kind of long-term care. So why is it that so few of us plan for those needs?

On Monday's Central Standard, Bill Anderson and the Cash Money Crew talk about how to prepare finances for old age and the possibility of needing long-term care. Plus, they explore the poor health of the long-term care insurance industry. 


NIAID / Flickr - CC

The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than a million people are living with HIV in the U.S. In spite of widespread education and prevention efforts, there has been little change in the number of new HIV infections. The good news: new treatments have allowed people with HIV to live a normal lifespan with reduced risk of transmitting the disease to others. But social stigma and the psychological and economic impact of HIV/AIDS still take a toll on those diagnosed with the disease.

401(K) 2012/Flickr-CC

When thousands of federal employees are being forced to go without a paycheck indefinitely because of inaction in Congress, is it really ethical for members of Congress to keep accepting their own paychecks?

On Thursday's Up to Date, the Ethics Professors join us to discuss that and other issues of murky morals. Should we consider signing up for healthcare part of a civic duty to lower medical costs for everyone? And how should we set a limit when it comes to the cost and scope of treatment?


Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Medical, business and educational leaders have spelled out what Jackson County residents would get if a tax issue is put on the November ballot and gains voter approval to enhance health research and medical care.

If the county legislature and voters approve, a half-cent sales tax would raise $40 million a year.

Funds would be divided between Children's Mercy and St. Luke’s Hospitals and UMKC. It’s designed to attract top medical researchers to translate new findings into treatment, diagnosis and prevention of diseases.

Voidxor / Wikimedia--CC

The REACH Healthcare Foundation recently released the Kansas City Regional Health Assessment, that analyzes health data from the area from 2000 to 2011, and offers a forecast of what’s in the future for health in Kansas City.

"The poverty rate has been increasing in the metropolitan area, and generally it's been especially increasing in suburban areas," says author and Government Innovations Forum Director for the Mid America Regional Council, Dean Katnerdahl. "So there's sort of a suburbanization of poverty."

Ford-UAW Test Could Affect KC Worker Health Care

Jun 24, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Ford Motor and the United Auto Workers Union today rolled out a pilot health care program that might ultimately affect  workers at the Kansas City Claycomo Assembly Plant.

The program would help the chronically ill and was also expected to reduce health care costs.

Ford, the union and the union’s retiree health care trust revealed the program at the company’s Dearborn, Michigan headquarters.

If it works in Michigan, Ford’s head of labor affairs Marty Mulloy said it could be used in places like Kansas City or Louisville, which have larger numbers of retirees. 

Felipe Micaroni Lalli

Most of the time, hacking isn't the first word you want to hear coupled with technology. At Hackovate, a legion of computer-savvy gurus are using their powers for good.

Illustration by Tracey O’Donnell

If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Missourian your chances of finding and getting the same level of health care as the rest of the state are significantly reduced.

A growing number of health experts are warning of potential collateral damage if the Supreme Court strikes down the entire 2010 Affordable Care Act: potential chaos in the Medicare program.

Medicare patients who reach the annual gap in coverage for prescription drugs known as the "doughnut hole" are 57 percent more likely than those with continuous insurance coverage to stop taking drugs for heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.

By now it's hardly news that the U.S. spends more than every other industrialized country on health care. But a new study suggests that at least when it comes to cancer care, Americans may actually be getting decent value.

What if when you’re sick and need to see the doctor, you could just log on to your home computer for a virtual visit instead of going to the office?  That idea and others were kicked around among area health leaders last week at a meeting about what Google’s soon-to-be-installed high speed internet, Google Fiber, could mean for the region’s health care sector.

Area Reps Vote On Health Law Repeal

Jan 20, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missouri's fifth district representative Emanuel Cleaver says he doesn't think yesterday's passage of a bill to repeal the federal health care law poses a real threat. The Senate's likely to reject the measure. But Cleaver, a democrat who strongly supports health reform, says he is concerned with GOP plans to try to defund the law in the coming months.

"If the funds are withheld or if significant dollars are withheld, there won't be the change we had hoped for, particularly in poor communities and disaffected communities," Cleaver says.

Kansas City, MO – Missouri's high risk insurance program has announced it's dropping premiums by as much as twenty five percent.

The state launched the pool this summer as part of the federal health law. But state insurance director John Huff says only a couple hundred people have enrolled in it so far. Huff says lowering the monthly premiums, which range from about $250 to $1,000, will hopefully change that.

"I hope it makes health coverage more affordable and accessible for Missourians - that's the intent," says Huff.

Jefferson City, MO – The Republican-dominated Missouri House has passed a non-binding resolution urging state officials to join a multistate lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul and calling on Congress to repeal the law.

The House approved the resolution Tuesday on a vote of 115-46.

The measure calls on Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster to join with other states in suing over the federal health care law passed last year, or to file a separate suit.

Salina, KS – Expanding health insurance coverage is one of the main goals of the Affordable Care Act. Most of the new health care law takes effect in 2014, but parts of it are in effect now. One such part is designed to make coverage available to a group of people who are among the most likely to be uninsured employees of small businesses.


Topeka, KS – Officials in Kansas are going to continue preparing for the national health care law to take effect.

A federal court in Virginia recently ruled against the law's insurance mandate.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger says at this point the state needs to continue working to prepare for any changes.

"This is going to be decided way down the line and probably at the supreme court level," Praeger says. "There will be numerous appeals."

Jefferson City, MO – Republicans in Missouri are praising Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that declared portions of the new federal health care law unconstitutional.

The Missouri Republican Party released a statement criticizing Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for supporting the bill and "thumbing her nose at the clear will of Missourians."

The State GOP also accused Governor Jay Nixon of ducking the issue altogether.

Nixon did respond to a question about the ruling during a press conference in Columbia on Monday.

Kansas City, MO – High risk insurance pools are designed to cover people with preexisting health conditions who can't get coverage. Missouri recently launched a new pool, subsidized under the recently passed federal health law. The program could apply to upwards of 150,000 residents, but not many are signing up so far.

Denied Coverage
Carolen Collins says she didn't think finding insurance would be such a problem when she decided to take early retirement from KU hospital two years ago.

Local Businesses Brace for Health Care Changes

Sep 16, 2010

Kansas City, MO – Small businesses throughout Kansas City are bracing for changes under the federal health law.

Telemedicine Gets Boost

Sep 9, 2010

Kansas City, MO – Leaders of a new telemedicine initiative are hoping to expand the use of the technology in rural areas where doctors and other specialists are difficult to access.

The virtual Heartland Telehealth Resource Center will help doctors and other providers get started with video-conferencing and other telemedicine technologies.

Jefferson City, MO – Union leaders in Missouri are not happy with a new health insurance plan for state employees. It replaces the current co-pay system with one that requires state workers to pay deductibles. Richard von Glahn is with the Missouri State Workers Union.

"We are frustrated because state employees are gonna be faced with higher out-of-pocket health care costs the Missouri legislature continues to choose policies that balance our revenue crisis on the backs of state workers," says von Glahn.