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Ensuring good health care for vulnerable Iowans

August 6, 2015
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, which were established on July 30, 1965.

Today, Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to just over a half million Iowans who are some of the most vulnerable people in our state. This includes families and children, pregnant women, seniors and people living with disabilities. More than 71 percent of Medicaid dollars go toward services for the disabled and seniors.

Most people with Medicaid live in working households but earn too little to afford health care. With Medicaid, they get health coverage so that they can see a doctor when they need to, which helps them stay healthy, ready to succeed in school and productive on the job.

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

In January, Governor Branstad surprised Iowans by proposing to privatize almost all of Iowa's Medicaid system. Under his plan, Iowa will make bigger changes faster than any other state regarding health care services for Iowans who need them most. After a similar transition in Kansas, the Disability Rights Center of Kansas reported that citizens with disabilities were denied services, struggled to navigate the new system and lacked resources to advocate for themselves.

In the Iowa Legislature, there is bipartisan support for a responsible, cautious approach to making changes to our Medicaid system with input from stakeholders. That's the sort of approach that has worked best in other states and has been Iowa's traditional approach.

Senate Democrats want to ensure Iowa's most vulnerable citizens don't fall through the cracks. As a part of this year's Health & Human Services Budget (SF 505), we created an oversight committee to review and recommend improvements to the Governor's plan to privatize Medicaid, and to ensure Iowans can navigate the new system and get the help they need when services are arbitrarily denied.

As part of the process of moving to a "managed care" approach, the Iowa Department of Human Services will hold public meetings regarding the state contracting with private health organizations to provide health care to Medicaid recipients.

To learn more about how Medicaid is changing in Iowa, go to:



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