Dems: Quick changes to Iowa Medicaid are reckless

October 2, 2015

Many Iowans are expressing concern about Governor Branstad’s unilateral decision to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid program. If fully implemented, the Governor’s decision would have negative impacts on Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens and Iowa’s healthcare providers.

We are concerned that people in our communities will be denied critical medical services and that local providers will not be adequately reimbursed for the medical care of patients. The long term care of severely disabled adults and children makes up the bulk of Medicaid services in Iowa. Medicaid also covers prenatal care to pregnant women, health insurance for low-income children, and health care for low income seniors and others.

The Governor’s plan is to turn over the care of more than a half million Iowans—one in five Iowans—to four managed care companies by January 1, 2016. With this change, we will see administrative costs jump from 3 to 15 percent, reaching $600 million. At the same time, the overall cost to the state is supposed to fall by $100 million a year.

The math doesn’t add up. The only way these companies can collect the multimillion dollar profits guaranteed them is by denying critical services to Iowans and by failing to fully pay local health care organizations for services they provide.

The managed care companies have yet to sign contracts with the state, so providers are being asked to sign contracts that don’t include reimbursement rates. Medicaid recipients and their families have good reason to be worried about the future.

Iowans who depend on Medicaid and the people and organizations that care for them need more time. That’s why we are calling on the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reject the Governor’s plan to put Iowa’s Medicaid Program in private hands or make major changes to it.

The federal government invests a significant amount in Iowa Medicaid services. We have a responsibility to federal taxpayers and to Iowans who need these services. We need to make sure, for example, that patient outcomes continue to improve and that access to health care is not decreased.

We all need to work together to make sure quality health care services remain available to local seniors, people with physical and mental disabilities, and mothers and children.


Share your concerns

If you are concerned about the Governor’s reckless privatization of Iowa Medicaid, make your voice heard.

  • Senate Democrats are holding listening posts to hear what you have to say about Medicaid privatization. Here are the listening posts that have been scheduled so far:
    • Friday, October 9, 10 to 11:30 a.m., North Iowa Area Community College – Conference Center (500 College Drive, Mason City).


    • Friday, October 9, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Falcon Civic Center – Meeting Room (1305 5th Avenue NE. Independence).


    • Wednesday, October 14, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Iowa Wesleyan College – Howe Student Activity Center (601 N. Main Street, Mount Pleasant).


    • Wednesday, October 14, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Marshalltown Community College – Conference Center (3700 S Center Street, Marshalltown).


    • Tuesday, October 27, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Burlington Public Library – Meeting Room A (210 Court Street, Burlington).


    • Wednesday, October 28, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Muscatine Community College – Larson Hall room 75 (152 Colorado Street, Muscatine).


  • Contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:
    • Write to – Andrew Slavitt, Acting Administrator. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244. Or e-mail –


    • Other key federal officials making decisions about Iowa’s Medicaid privatization:








Where you can learn more

To learn more about privatizing Medicaid in Iowa, go to

In addition, the Iowa Department of Human Services is hosting meetings to help local Iowans understand what the transition means for them.



Get answers to your questions

  • Medicaid recipients with questions or concerns can call Members Services at 1-800-338-8366.


  • Questions from providers should be directed to the Provider Services Call Center at 1-800-338-7909.


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