Wednesday, May 25, 2022


The nation is jolted by another mass shooting, this time at a Texas elementary school; a mixture of hope and stark realities on the 2nd anniversary of Floyd Murder; a new map shows more Americans live within oil & gas "Threat Radius."


At least 19 children and two adults killed at Texas elementary school, President Biden delivers remarks on shooting from White House, lawmakers plead on gun control, NRA to hold conference in Houston this week, Stacey Abrams and Gov. Brian Kemp favored to win Georgia primary.


From off-Broadway to West Virginia: the stories of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion, baby formula is on its way back to grocery shelves, and federal funds will combat consolidation in meatpacking.

'Day of Action' to Highlight Health-Policy Priorities for IA


Friday, January 21, 2022   

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen, and an upcoming event highlights what they cite as some of the most glaring needs.

As the legislative session takes shape, there are calls to extend postpartum health coverage for new mothers under Medicaid, which in Iowa ends after 60 days. The federal government is now giving states the option to extend the coverage to 12 months.

Stacy Frelund, government relations director for the American Heart Association of Iowa, said it would make a big preventive-health difference.

"You think about heart disease and stroke, and how many mothers are impacted, mothers and babies," Frelund remarked.

Supporters argued an expansion would also help reduce racial disparities in maternal health. At the same time, groups like the Heart Association worry about proposals to add requirements for people receiving public assistance.

The bill's sponsors asserted they are needed to improve management of the programs and avoid federal fines, but critics countered they will hurt access. Health priorities are the topic in a "Virtual Day of Action" Jan. 26.

Frelund pointed out they also want to see more support for a component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Double Up Food Bucks program allows SNAP recipients to stretch their dollars when buying fruits and vegetables, but those funds have dried up, forcing dozens of stores to drop the program.

"We know that there's need across the state for healthy foods," Frelund observed. "The more we can make it easier for people to make that healthy choice is the better for all of Iowa."

There are also calls to expand access to early childhood education through Head Start programs, with supporters contending they can improve healthy behaviors in young children. Right now, only 6% of Iowa kids under age three who qualify have access to Early Head Start.

Disclosure: American Heart Association of Iowa contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Smoking Prevention, and Women's Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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