Iowa Can do better on Medicaid
Re-establish an efficient state-run system
The 20 Democrats and one Independent in the Iowa Senate have introduced a bill (SF 2058) to end privatized Medicaid. We want to put Iowans back in control of a state-run system that provides affordable health care to 600,000 citizens.
Since April 2016, when Medicaid was turned over to out-of-state companies, Iowans have complained about the obstacles they face getting care and services.
Hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers – especially in Iowa’s small towns and rural areas – agree that the privatized system is not working. They aren’t being properly reimbursed for the care they provide. They face red tape and bureaucratic nightmares. Many are in financial jeopardy, and some have even been forced to close their doors.
Things continue to get worse. Yet the state keeps giving private, out-of-state companies more of your tax dollars to run Medicaid. In fact, Governor Reynolds just agreed to give them another $130 million.
This is not how health care should work for Iowans who are gravely ill or live with a disability. Even the Reynolds Administration now admits privatized Medicaid has many shortcomings, but refuses to return to a system that once worked so well for Iowa.
Our families are all just one tragic mishap away from being entangled in Iowa’s Medicaid mess. That’s what happened to Michelle Meadors when an auto accident on her way home from work left her paralyzed. She is now one of many Iowans fighting for decent health care for all of us. During a recent visit to the Statehouse, she shared her story with Senator Kevin Kinney of Oxford and Senator Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant. Here’s a video of her testimony at a legislative meeting in 2016: http://bit.ly/Michelle-Meadors. Many of the concerns Michelle raised then are still problems today.
Ensure our most vulnerable get the care they need
To help Iowans with especially complex health care needs, Senators Amanda Ragan and Liz Mathis have co-sponsored a second Medicaid bill.
SF 2013 would return Medicaid patients with complex health care needs to the state-run system that worked well for them prior to Medicaid privatization. These folks could be your next door neighbor who is a quadriplegic, a student in a special classroom for severe developmental disabilities, or a senior with a serious illness that cannot be addressed through typical health care.
In 2016, all Medicaid patients were thrown into the new system with only a few months to plan. Not a wise move. Iowans have died because of cuts to services under managed care.
Many other states have “layered-in” citizens with more complex needs over time. With SF2013, Iowa could work to get managed care right for the larger population.
Let’s listen to Iowans
We can and should redesign Medicaid our own way—the Iowa way. We have many experts across the state with innovative ideas for delivering great service AND saving money.
Governor Reynolds could end the chaos created by the Administration’s unilateral decision to privatize Medicaid by working with us on these solutions.
Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen meets with parents advocating for their adult children with disabilities. They rely on Medicaid assistance for many aspects of their daily living. The privatized Medicaid system has failed them. They, like thousands of other Iowans, believe our citizens would be better served under an Iowa-run system that doesn’t give out-of-state companies the chance to earn a profit by cutting care and providers’ payments.
For people with bleeding disorders, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has resulted in the removal of many barriers faced by this community to accessing the best health care. In 2014, more barriers were removed, including:
ACA mandated on January 1, 2014, that every individual must have an acceptable form of health insurance health insurance (the individual mandate). Acceptable forms of health insurance include buying a health plan from the Health Insurance Marketplace or having employer sponsored insurance. Otherwise, you can have coverage under Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicare coverage, Tricare, and Veteran’s Health Program. To each rule there is an exception and it is no difference with the individual health insurance mandate. See below for more on the exceptions.
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