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District 72 Update

April 7, 2016
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Garwin , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Newsletter for Thursday,

March 31, 2016

Work has been slow this week as the number of bills available for debate dwindles. Work on the budget continues as the House and Senate work to iron out the budget targets for the various departments.

Article Photos

State Rep. Dena Fisher
R-Garwin

Medicaid

Transition

Iowa's Medicaid Modernization plan began on April 1, the date that Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) will take over managing Iowa's 560,000 Medicaid recipients. This change will be a benefit to the recipients because it will be oriented towards making people healthier instead of treating illnesses as they arise. It will also benefit the taxpayers for much the same reason, positive outcomes mean lower costs.

The Medicaid system in the past has been very bureaucratic and uncontrollable. According to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, the cost of Medicaid from 2006 to 2015 increased by an average of 9.1% annually while yearly state revenue grew by 2.6% annually. In contrast, K-12 education funding from the state grew by 4.3% annually over the same period. Clearly Iowa could not sustain that staggering runaway growth in Medicaid, something had to be done to keep it from preventing us from funding other priorities. In order to control costs, the system will now focus on managing patients through wellness initiatives and preventative and coordinated care.

Second, the state's antiquated Medicaid system doesn't focus on making patients healthy, and simply works to treat diseases and illnesses as they occur. Under managed care, the new system will focus on preventative care to help patients lead healthier lives. This is done through coordinated care by promoting wellness measures and tackling chronic disease. These steps will help patients enjoy a higher quality of life. Thus, Medicaid Modernization provides the state with an opportunity to control these ever-growing costs while also improving patient health.

House Republicans have been working to craft legislation that provides a degree of oversight to the Medicaid Modernization plan. This will likely be included within the Health and Human Services budget bill. House Republicans' plan will focus on access, quality of care, and quality of outcomes to ensure that patients continue to receive the high quality healthcare that they expect.

Change is always difficult, and the change to modernize Medicaid is no different. Politics is also unavoidable, and there are those that will continue to politicize Medicaid Modernization as they have in the past few months. Now is the time for everyone to set party politics aside and work together to make sure this change happens successfully for the Medicaid beneficiaries and the taxpayers alike.

Other Bills of Note

House File 2438/Senate File 2300 - Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit - This bill establishes a tax credit of five cents per pound of chemicals produced from the byproducts of bio-energy production. There are thirty known chemicals that can be extracted from these byproducts that are considered to have commercial value. This tax credit is intended to spur this industry in Iowa, increasing the value of our ethanol and bio-diesel production. This is an important piece of legislation that has taken several years to accomplish. It will help create an industry that is tightly linked to Iowa's agriculture economy and increase job opportunities for Iowans. The bill passed the House 95 to 1 and now goes to the governor for consideration.

I would love to have you come down to the Capitol any Monday through Thursday to visit, discuss your concerns with me, and take a tour of this beautiful building. It is one of Iowa's treasures. As always, please feel free to contact me at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov or 641-750-3594.

 
 
 

 

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