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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community

April 13, 2019
By State Senator Jeff Edler - R-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

In the Legislature

This was the twelfth week of the 2019 legislative session and budget bills have started moving in both chambers. The first budget bill passed off the floor of the Senate this week. Senate Republicans have proposed a budget for the next fiscal year that is sustainable, responsible, and conservative. It is a budget that supports our pro-growth agenda and also funds the priorities of Iowans, such as health care, education, and public safety. As we get closer to the end of session, we will see more budget bills pass through the chamber as we work on a budget agreement with the House and governor.

This week was the second legislative deadline of the year, refining our focus to the main priorities we want to get done this year. These bills are priorities for the Senate, but also have support in the other chamber.

Article Photos

State Senator Jeff Edler

Many of you have expressed concerns about the recent decision by Governor Reynolds to end contract negotiations with UnitedHealthcare, one of Iowa's two Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO). We hear and understand your concerns, and know many of you are frustrated. At the end of the day, Governor Reynolds decided it was not in the best interest of Iowans to move forward with a company that demanded less accountability for how taxpayer dollars are spent. The decision to move to privatized Medicaid several years ago was intended to improve patient outcomes and keep Medicaid available to patients in a sustainable way as costs to the state were growing out of control. Without making steps towards modernization, Iowa would have had to slash benefits to people on the program and to the providers who deliver care.

There is a transition plan over the next several months to ensure Iowans are receiving the care they need. While the exact timeline still needs to be finalized, the patients who have UnitedHealthcare as an MCO will be moved to a new MCO. That could be Amerigroup or Iowa's new MCO, Iowa Total Care. As the details of this transition continue to be worked out, I encourage you to reach out with any questions or problems you may have.

In the next few weeks we will be continuing the focus on budget bills and bills coming out of the Ways and Means Committee. The Ways and Means Committee deals with pieces of legislation involving either taxes or fees. This year Senate Republicans have made it a priority to find innovative ways to lessen the burden on property owners. It is important to allow local autonomy, while also ensuring prudent spending practices at the local level.



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