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Archive for September, 2013

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas’ four members of the U.S. House of Representatives each voted for a resolution that would temporarily fund the federal government while delaying implementation of the federal health care act.

Republicans Steve Womack, Tim Griffin, Tom Cotton and Rick Crawford each voted for the proposal that passed the House on a 231-192 vote late Saturday.

The government is on the verge of a partial shutdown on Tuesday and congressional Republicans vowed Sunday to keep using an otherwise routine government funding bill to try to attack what they call “Obamacare.”

Democrats oppose the health care delay and a provision to repeal a medical device tax that helps finance the 2010 health care overhaul.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – a Democrat – says the proposal will die in his chamber.

(Montier) – Two Springfield residents suffered minor injuries Friday morning after a roll over accident near Montier.

The accident happened at 4:15 AM on Highway 60, about a mile east of Montier, when the westbound vehicle driven by 26-year-old Joshua Chapman ran off-road and overturned.

Chapman and a 3-year-old passenger were both taken to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains.

(Tecumseh) – A resident of Udall suffered minor injuries Saturday morning after the truck he was driving ran off-road and hit an embankment and a tree.

79-year-old Lee Carrico was taken from the scene of the 9 AM accident to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home.

The accident happened 3 miles south of Tecumseh on County Road 551.

(Mountain View) – Two people from West Plains suffered minor injuries Thursday night after trying to avoid a deer on Highway 17.

30-year-old William Dushuanack and 25-year-old Clinton Robertson were both taken from the scene of the accident to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains by ambulance.

The accident happened five miles south of Mountain View at 10 PM. A report from the Highway Patrol states that after avoiding the deer, the vehicle driven by Dushuanack ran off-road and hit a tree.

Over 700 people participated in the first ever Color Me For CASA run (ORN Photo)

Over 700 people participated in the first ever Color Me For CASA run (ORN Photo)

(West Plains) – The first ever Color Me For CASA color run held Saturday morning in West Plains shattered expectations, raising approximately $20,000 for the 37th Judicial CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates.

37th CASA Financial Director Judy Hansmann told Ozark Radio News Saturday afternoon that a total of 712 participants ran in the Saturday event, which started and ended at the West Plains Civic Center and consisted of a 5K Run or a 1K walk/run. Approximately $20,000 was raised in the event, however a final monetary total will come later, as it will take some time to get a final total from internet donations.

Of the 712 participants, 58 of them were from Fairview School, which won a trophy for the most participants from a school.

The funding will be used to offset costs for the group, which advocates in court for children across the 37th Judicial Circuit who have been abused, neglected or abandoned, and helps find them a loving home. The 37th Circuit covers Howell, Oregon, Shannon and Carter Counties.

To view the photo gallery from the event, click here.

Congratulations to Fairview School, which won a trophy for the most participants from a school. (ORN photo)

Congratulations to Fairview School, which won a trophy recognizing a school with the most participants. (ORN photo)

Color packets were given to people at the end of the race to throw in the air in celebration. (ORN photo)

Color packets were given to people at the end of the race to throw in the air in celebration. (ORN photo)

(ORN photo)

(ORN photo)

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri residents can begin enrolling Tuesday for health coverage offered through a new online insurance marketplace. But patients searching for insurance may want to practice some patience.

Health care advocates say consumers should expect some initial technical troubles. Some of the trained experts intended to help guide people through the application process may not yet be on the job. And while Tuesday marks the launch of the website, people have until Dec. 15 to sign up and still be covered when the insurance policies begin Jan. 1

“There are going to be some glitches. The exchange is not going to be perfect when it opens,” said Ryan Barker, vice president for health policy at the Missouri Foundation for Health, a nonprofit group that’s helping promote the insurance marketplace.

“You can go (to the website) Oct. 1, you can check it out, but there’s no huge rush that you have to do anything in October. Take your time, talk to friends, get some help” before you enroll, Barker added.

The insurance exchanges in each state are a central component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama, which requires most people to have insurance by 2014 or face tax penalties. The online shopping sites will allow people without employer-sponsored health plans to compare prices and benefits of individual insurance policies.

People who buy policies on the health exchanges may be eligible for government subsidies that could save them considerable cash. The subsidies aren’t available to adults living in poverty because the federal health care law assumed those people would be added to the Medicaid rolls, but Missouri is one of 26 states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.

Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature also opted against a state-run health insurance exchange. Instead, it referred a measure to the ballot that voters approved last year barring state officials from setting up an insurance exchange or providing “assistance or resources of any kind” to the federal government to implement its own insurance exchange in Missouri.

As a result, there has been little advance publicity in Missouri about the launch of the online insurance site. Although federal officials released some cost estimates for insurance policies last week, details about specific policies and the doctors and hospitals participating in them won’t be known until this coming week.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, has urged people not to sign up for coverage on the insurance exchange.

“I would hope there would be a lot of active resistance to the implementation of this law,” Kinder said.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who wants to repeal Obama’s health care law, stopped short of calling for a boycott.

“I’d recommend that people, if they can figure out how to have health insurance, that they get health insurance,” Blunt said. But he added: “I think what people are going to find next Tuesday is that the federal exchange is nowhere near ready to do the job.”

Some groups that are supposed to help people understand the new website acknowledge they aren’t quite ready.

Central Missouri Community Action, which got a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health, still is awaiting federal approval to serve as a certified application site and is in the process of hiring seven staff. The Community Action Agency of St. Louis County also is awaiting its federal certification and has hired about half of the 14 application counselors being founded through the Missouri Foundation for Health.

“We’re not really set up for people to even know about us,” said Doug Eller, the St. Louis County agency’s coordinator of resource development. He added: “We have a steep learning curve.”

Yet some consumers are eager to learn more.

Amber Sullivan, a part-time librarian and single mother of two from St. Charles, said her health insurance got cancelled about six years ago because she couldn’t make the payments. She has gone without insurance since then, racking up an estimated $1,000 of medical debt. She plans to check out the new insurance exchange.

“I’m hoping that I can get insurance for maybe like $100 a month,” Sullivan said.

Rebecca Gordon, who runs a small marketing business in Jefferson City, said she has a high-deductible individual insurance policy, and her husband and son are covered under a separate policy. She hopes the new website makes it easier to shop for insurance.

“I’m looking forward to getting possibly better coverage, even if I have to pay a little more,” said Gordon, who serves on the board of Missouri Health Care for All, which supports the new federal law.

Though Gordon plans to click on the website Tuesday, she doesn’t anticipate enrolling in an insurance plan until later.

“I think a lot of people are waiting to see what will happen. We are, too,” said Angela Hirsch, the community services director for Central Missouri Community Action. “I don’t know if there will be a mad rush Oct. 1, or if we’ll hear crickets.”

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas has become the first state to win federal approval to use Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents under the federal health care law.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday approved the state’s request to implement a “private option” plan.

The state’s Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic governor approved the plan earlier this year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid’s enrollment under the federal health care law. Arkansas formally submitted its request to the federal government last month.

Several other states have expressed interest in Arkansas’ plan as an alternative to expanding Medicaid, and supporters of the president’s health overhaul have pointed to Arkansas as a Republican-trending state that is implementing the law.

(St. Louis) (AP) – Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum says Republicans need to do a better job of caring, relating and communicating if they hope to win national elections.

Santorum spoke Saturday to hundreds of people gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban St. Louis.

He said Republicans have been trying to win by proving to people their policies are right with facts and figures. But he says Democrats have prevailed in national elections by telling people they understand, relate and care for them.

The former Pennsylvania senator ran unsuccessfully last year for the Republican nomination for president.

He’s now leading a conservative movie production company and traveling the country speaking. Santorum says he hasn’t ruled out another bid for president.

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas two senators have split on legislation that continues funding government after it was stripped of a House-backed effort to defund the federal health care law.

Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor on Friday voted for the measure intended on keeping the federal government operating through Nov. 15, while Republican John Boozman voted against the measure. The Senate passed the continuing resolution on a 54-44 vote after voting by the same margin to remove from it a House proposal to defund the federal health care overhaul.

The measure is aimed at avoiding a government shutdown next week and heads back to the House. The state’s four Republican congressmen voted last week for the spending bill with the defunding measure included.

(North Little Rock) (AP) – Fifty-six of Arkansas’ 75 county judges are backing former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross’ bid for governor next year.

Ross’ campaign announced Friday that he won the endorsement from the county judges, which make up about three-fourths of the state’s county judges. The judges backing him include 55 Democrats and one independent.

The judges said in a statement released by the campaign that they believed he’d work with them and quorum courts to help improve the state.

Ross is the only announced Democratic candidate for governor. Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman and state Rep. Debra Hobbs are seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is term limited and can’t seek re-election.