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Supreme Court Decision Upholds Health Care Reform, 5 - 4
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), June 28, 2012 - Today's Supreme Court decision, 5 - 4, in National Independent Federation of Business, et al. v. Sebelius, upholds key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the critically important minimum coverage provision, which is a vital tool to protect and improve the lives of uninsured Americans and to reduce the severe inequalities of our current healthcare system.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon today issued the following statement regarding the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court:
"We're just now beginning to review this ruling so that we can understand exactly what it means for Missouri. This ruling has significant complexities and implications for families, health care providers and insurers in our state. Here in Missouri, I'm committed to working collaboratively with citizens, businesses, medical providers and the legislature to move forward in a way that works best for families in our state."
Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO), stated in a release following the Supreme Court decision that the Affordable Care Act was, in fact, Constitutional:
"Sixty years ago, President Harry S. Truman realized that to effectively grow as a nation, all Americans must have healthcare coverage," said Carnahan. "While changes to our healthcare law would be made, including the signing of Medicare with President Truman in attendance, his ultimate dream would be deferred for nine Administrations to follow. Two years ago, that dream came true and today, that dream is a full-fledged reality.
"I applaud the decision which echoes a majority of Americans who believe that healthcare coverage is both a right and a responsibility. Because of his courage and the hard work of President Obama, American families will be able to protect children with healthcare until they are able to buy coverage for themselves; insurance companies will continue writing checks to customers as a rebate for money not spent on patient care; 50 million Americans who were underinsured or uninsured will have an avenue to care, so they will not fear bankruptcy and ruin because of a simple cold or broken bone; seniors will face a diminishing donut hole in prescription drug coverage that will eventually disappear; doctors will continue examining the massive disparities in the way minorities are affected by some diseases and women will have free coverage for mammograms. Most importantly, Americans who simply want to buy insurance will never again be denied, simply because of a pre-existing condition.
"This is a great victory, not for the President or for any party, but for the American people."
Severe Heat Throughout Region Poses Threat to Safety
With temperatures reaching the upper nineties, families and friends visiting the Saint Louis Zoo on Sunday, June 24, enjoyed the refreshing cooling fans placed throughout park. The Saint Louis Zoo's new Sea Lion Sound brings visitors nose-to-nose with swimming sea lions through an exhibit opening to the public on Saturday, June 30. See Saint Louis Zoo.
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), June 24, 2012 - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, State Emergency Management Agency, and the National Weather Service are promoting Missouri Summer Safety Week (June 24-30) to highlight the risks and dangers associated with excessive heat.
"High temperatures and high humidity can cause health problems quickly and with little warning," said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "Summer Weather Safety Week reminds us of precautions we need to take to protect ourselves and others, especially those who are particularly vulnerable to the heat."
In 2011, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported 47 heat-related deaths in Missouri.
Remember these basic tips to protect you and your family during severe heat and heat emergencies:
United Way has opened cooling centers throughout the St. Louis region for anyone needing to escape the heat. To find a cooling center location or to learn about energy assistance programs, call United Way at 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
- Eat light, well-balanced meals at regular intervals.
- Drink plenty of water and limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
- Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sunscreen.
- Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day; use the buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks.
- Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities.
- Be aware of medications that may impair the body's response to heat, including antihistamines, tranquilizers and some medications for heart disease.
Missourians can find a public cooling center near them by visiting MO.gov. Through the online cooling center directory at MO.gov, users can simply enter a zip code, city or county to find a cooling center nearby.
Emerson Charitable Trust Pledges $2 MIllion to The Muny
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), June 24, 2012 - Audiences at The Muny in Forest Park can rest assured the future is bright thanks to an outstanding $2 million pledge from the Emerson Charitable Trust.
This gift will allow The Muny to plan for significant capital improvements to the buildings and grounds in addition to providing for significant annual maintenance needs of the nearly 100-year-old outdoor musical theatre, America's oldest and largest.
In a release, Emerson's Chairman & CEO, David N. Farr, said, "The Muny is committed to presenting world-class musical theatre accessible for everyone in our community. We are delighted to help fund their endowment in order to make the magic of The Muny possible for generations to come."
"We are honored by Emerson's outstanding gift which represents an extremely
generous 10% of our overall $20 million endowment goal," according to Dennis M.
Reagan, President and CEO of The Muny. "Endowment funding is vital to offset any
unforeseen circumstances that may impact a season such as a challenging economy
and or severe weather. Endowment also allows us to work toward achieving our
strategic long-range plans while continuing to produce world-class musical theatre for our audiences.
"The Muny continues to be a valued civic asset that has an important role in the St. Louis region and with Emerson's leadership support we will build on and strengthen this role in preparation for our 100th anniversary celebrations scheduled for 2018-2019."
New Legislation to Increase Funding for Children with Autism
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), June 24, 2012 - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited the Burrell Autism Center in Springfield, Thursday, June 21 and signed legislation to increase access to services for more children with autism. House Bill 2010 will increase the state's investment in five regional autism projects by $750,000, providing services for approximately 375 additional children. The bill will take effect July 1.
In a statement, Governor Nixon said, "For more than two decades, thousands of families have been connected with programs and services in their area through our five Regional Autism Projects, but there are still families across Missouri who need help accessing autism services. That's why, even in a tight budget year, we've worked together to invest an additional $750,000 in these programs to serve an additional 375 children. This funding is another step in our ongoing commitment to making sure that children with autism and their families have access to services they need and deserve."
House Bill 2010 is the appropriations bill for the Department of Mental Health. The Department's Division of Developmental Disabilities oversees the regional projects that collectively provide autism services to approximately 2,500 families statewide. The services are designed to assist in skill development of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and provide needed training and support for families. The appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013, signed into law today by Gov. Nixon, will extend these services to an additional 375 children, bringing the total served to approximately 2,875.
In 2010, Gov. Nixon signed landmark legislation that ended the longstanding insurance company practice of denying coverage for medically necessary, evidence-based Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. Health insurance companies must now provide coverage of up to $41,000 a year, until age 18, for Applied Behavior Analysis.
Because of that law, 1.3 million Missourians now have a health plan that must provide coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis. In 2011, the first year of the new law, nearly 4,000 Missourians received Applied Behavior Analysis therapy covered by their insurance plan.
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