Last year, the Iowa legislature and Governor Culver approved cutting DHS by $27 million dollars.
No Medicaid spending could be reduced.
Shifting all cuts into non-Medicaid spending .
The Iowa Juvenile Home will have all beds for boys eliminated from IJH.
15 beds for girls would be eliminated
21-FTE positions would be eliminated – meaning 16 actual employees would be fired and 5 unfilled positions would be eliminated.
After seeing this proposal, I asked, “Where will the boys go to if they are eliminated at IJH?” The Director answered by saying, “I don’t know.” I told him that I would not accept that answer, so he suggested maybe those boys could go to in or out of state private facilities? You have to understand, most of the students have already exhausted all efforts to place them in other treatment facilities. The Iowa Juvenile Home has historically been the “last stop” for students with their challenges. Admittedly, and most troubling to me, the Director agreed that moving the boys from IJH would cost more, but it wouldn’t come from his budget, the increased expenditure would come from another budget! In layperson’s terms, that means that this cut would actually cost MORE for taxpayers, but the DHS budget would show a reduction!
I dug even deeper in to the reason for the cuts. I found that it wasn’t Governor Culver that required IJH to get cut, leaving Medicaid expenditures UNTOUCHED. The requirement to leave Iowa’s Medicaid spending at its current high levels came from the ObamaCare legislation. There is a provision in the Federal law telling states they COULD NOT reduce their eligibility levels for Medicaid services through 2014 for adults and 2019 for kids.
Tomorrow, Governor Branstad is providing his budget proposal, but looking ahead his new Director told me that it was his goal that IJH would keep the same boy/girl census for the upcoming budget year. I’ll be able to provide more information after the Governor’s speech.
Rep. Lance Horbach
Chairman- Labor & Industrial Relations Committee
Iowa House of Representatives
State Rep. Lance Horbach