Dems: A bipartisan vote to protect Iowa’s health care safety net

February 11, 2016
By

Iowa still isn’t ready—even after a 60-day delay—to implement a Medicaid system operated by for-profit, out-of-state companies. That’s why the Senate took a bipartisan vote today to stop Governor Branstad’s push to privatize Medicaid, which puts the health and wellbeing of more than 560,000 Iowans at risk.

 

SF 2125 directs the Iowa Department of Human Services to terminate contracts with three private, out-of-state managed care companies. Instead, the legislation calls on the state to continue improving patient outcomes, increasing access to care and making the existing public management of Medicaid more efficient.

 

Although Governor Branstad claims that privatizing Medicaid will save money without diminishing Iowans’ access to health care, the truth is that Iowa’s medical costs per patient are already relatively low and have stayed fairly constant over time, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. The only way to save more money is by denying health care to our most vulnerable citizens.

 

In addition, Iowa’s Medicaid costs have little to do with the health care services provided. Medicaid is paid for jointly by the federal government and the state. Since 2003, Iowa has paid a larger share due to our economic strength compared to other states. Iowa saw another big increase in 2013, when the state agreed to cover the counties’ share of Medicaid costs.

 

If your parent, spouse or child has a severe disability, chances are they’ll need Medicaid. It’s a health care safety net for every Iowan. When things go wrong, Medicaid provides the care that would otherwise bankrupt most Iowa families.

 

The only thing guaranteed by bringing in for-profit, Wall Street firms is that we’ll send a big chunk of Iowa’s Medicaid dollars to out-of-state companies in the form of administrative fees that have nothing to do with the health of Iowans.

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