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Take 5 For Your Health

A Quick, Clickable Roundup Of Health News From Our Region — And Beyond — For The Last Week Of June

Rolling Grocer employee talking to customers Rollin' Grocer employee Ian Knau talks with customers on the mobile grocery truck. (Photo: Alex Smith | Heartland Health Monitor)
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New ‘Rollin’ Grocer’ Brings Grocery Store To Kansas City’s Food Deserts

In recent years, the once-lowly food truck has entered the big leagues of cuisine.

Once peddlers of quick snacks like hot dogs and falafel, food trucks now sell items like crème brulee, roast duck and Spanish tapas.

Some Kansas City entrepreneurs think these trucks have the potential to do something else – tackle food inequity.

Standing outside a big, white trailer parked at the Guinotte Manor public housing complex northeast of downtown Kansas City, Megan Mulvihill invites curious neighbors to step inside.

— Alex Smith is a reporter for KCUR, which is a partner in Heartland Health Monitor, a reporting collaboration that also includes KCPT and KHI News Service, an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute.

Missouri, Kansas Abortion Limits Face Certain Challenge After High Court Strikes Down Texas Law

Missouri’s highly restrictive abortion laws are certain to face a court challenge now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down similar restrictions in Texas.

The high court on Monday, by a 5-3 vote, ruled that a 2013 Texas law placed an undue burden on women seeking to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion under the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Like Missouri’s laws, the Texas law mandated that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals and required abortion clinics to physically upgrade their facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.

Texas said the law aimed to protect women’s health. Critics said it was intended to shut down abortion clinics by imposing unnecessary, burdensome and costly requirements. Since the law was enacted, the number of clinics providing abortions in Texas, a state with a population of 27 million, has dropped to 19 from a high of 41.

— Dan Margolies is editor of Heartland Health Monitor

KanCare Expansion Group Launches Campaign To Educate Voters

Supporters of Medicaid expansion are kicking off a campaign to mobilize Kansas voters on the issue. Federal tax rules prohibit the nonprofit Alliance for a Healthy Kansas from engaging in direct political activity, so the group is mounting a vigorous educational campaign through a series of community meetings across the state.

The goal is to educate Kansans about the economic and health benefits of expanding eligibility for KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, so that they can question incumbent lawmakers and challengers about the issue during the primary and general election campaigns, said David Jordan, executive director of the alliance.

“These aren’t political events, they are events to engage community members and community leaders,” said Jordan, noting that Kansas has so far lost out on more than $1.2 billion in additional federal Medicaid funds.

The alliance, which boasts more than 70 member organizations, kicked off the series June 21 in Wichita and has meetings scheduled Wednesday in Dodge City and Thursday in Garden City. Meetings scheduled through mid-July include sessions in Topeka, Overland Park, Independence and Hutchinson.

— Jim McLean is executive editor of KHI News Service

State Contractor Oversight Criticized In Wake Of Kansas Medicaid Mistake

News of a mistake that dropped several thousand Kansans from state Medicaid backlog reports has advocates and Democratic lawmakers questioning the state’s oversight of the contractor blamed for the error.

Susan Mosier, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, sent a letter to federal officials June 10 to let them know that the reports they had been receiving since February — which showed the state’s backlog of Medicaid applications steadily declining — were inaccurate.

The state had reported that the backlog of new applications awaiting processing as of May 8 was 3,480 and about 2,000 of those had been pending more than 45 days. After the reporting error was corrected, the state reported that as of May 22, the total backlog of new applications was 15,393 and nearly 11,000 of them had been waiting more than 45 days — the limit set by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

— Andy Marso is a reporter for KHI News Service

From PBS NewsHour

Published on Jun 22, 2016
President Obama reached a rare agreement with Congress on a new law to regulate toxic household chemicals. The legislation, signed Wednesday, will give the EPA the authority to vet and ban tens of thousands of substances potentially harmful to humans, including chemicals in detergents, cleaners and furniture. Gwen Ifill learns more from political director Lisa Desjardins.

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