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What We're Reading: Iowa's New Health Plan; Medical Meals and Health; CDC Probes Teen Suicide


The governor of Iowa signed a law allowing health plans that are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act; custom medically designed meals keep patients healthier, a study found; the CDC is probing a teen suicide outbreak in an Ohio county.

Iowa Governor Signs Law Allowing Health Plans Noncompliant With ACA

Governor Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, signed a law allowing the Iowa Farm Bureau to collaborate with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield on self-funded “health benefit plans” that do not meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements. Health policy experts told The Hill that the move could show similar Republican-led states how to get around the ACA’s rules and regulations, like providing 10 essential health benefits or covering preexisting health conditions.

Custom Medically Designed Meals Keep Patients Healthier

Patients who received medically tailored meals were less likely to use more expensive healthcare services and were also less likely to be admitted to the hospital. STAT News reported about a Health Affairs study involving 133 patients who were eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid with multiple health conditions, some of whom received specific medically tailored meals from a Boston-based nonprofit. Researchers compared their health outcomes with those of roughly 1000 control patients who didn’t get meals delivered. After 6 months, both types of delivered meals were associated with fewer trips to the emergency department, although the medically tailored meals had a bigger impact on cost.

CDC Probing Teen Suicide Outbreak in Ohio County

The CDC will spend 2 weeks visiting 1 northeastern Ohio county investigating an outbreak of teen suicide, the Associated Press reported. Officials say 5 students and 1 former student from a school district in Stark County killed themselves within a 6-month period from 2017 into this year, spurring vigils, prevention efforts, community meetings, and discussion about a possible contagion effect. Overall, the state has lost more young people to suicide in 2017 than in any of the previous 10 years, although the CDC visit will only focus on Stark County.

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