Dems: Ragan: Medicaid mistakes putting additional burdens on at risk Iowans; Legislators must “clean up this mess as best we can”

November 3, 2015

Iowa Senate News Release

State Senator Amanda Ragan: (641) 424 – 0874

For Immediate Release: November 3, 2015



Ragan: Medicaid mistakes putting additional burdens on at risk Iowans; Legislators must “clean up this mess as best we can”


Prepared remarks by Senator Amanda Ragan,
Co-Chair of the Iowa Legislature’s Health Policy Oversight Committee

Governor Branstad’s proposal to privatize Iowa Medicaid is worrying tens of thousands of Iowans.  I can’t remember an issue that has ever generated so many serious concerns.

I’m getting many phone calls, letters, and emails on this subject.  People stop me on the street and want to talk about Medicaid.  Iowans of all kinds tell me they are worried.

They want to know how their parent, child, spouse or neighbor will get the health care they need.

Other legislators tell me the same thing is happening in their districts.

The proposal to privatize Medicaid is creating problems all across our state.  It has seriously upset many Iowans, people who already have enough worries.

Let’s remember that most Medicaid dollars aid people living with serious health care problems.

Many have severe physical and mental health challenges.

Many or our seniors depend solely on Medicaid for long term, life-giving care.

560,000 Iowans receive their health care through Medicaid.

That’s one out of six Iowans.  Keeping our promises to them is a tremendous responsibility.

Let’s not forget that privatizing Medicaid also affects the people who care about them, and the people who care for them.  Iowa’s entire health care system has been impacted by this proposal.

To me, it is obvious we are moving too fast, trying to do too much, and not planning sufficiently.

Iowans are finding the health care they depend upon has become more uncertain.

That uncertainty has also hit Iowa health care providers.

Iowans are demanding help from the Legislature.

Today, we will deal primarily with how the Department of Human Services prepared for this massive project and what progress has been made.  We also have specific questions for the managed care organizations.

Frankly, these questions should have been answered much earlier, not two months before the effective date of implementation.

In closing, I have to say how disappointed I am with the Branstad Administration’s progress so far.  These problems are not unprecedented.  They all happened before in other states that have privatized Medicaid.

Last spring, the Iowa Senate passed tough oversight legislation.  If that bill had been signed into law, Iowans would now be much better protected and have much less to fear.

Today, Iowans are looking to their legislators to speak up for them, and work to keep this train from running over them.



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