Why Is Governor Branstad Dismantling Medicaid?

OFrom the newsletter of Senator Bolkcom (D) – Iowa City


Medicaid provides health coverage to just over a half million of the most vulnerable people in our state, including seniors, families and children, pregnant women, and people living with disabilities.

In January, Governor Branstad surprised Iowans with a proposal to privatize almost all of Iowa’s Medicaid system, which is jointly funded and administered by the federal and state governments.

Iowa’s Governor has again decided on his own to make big changes to the health care of other people—people without much political power.

At this moment, only two things are certain.

One: There will be major changes to the health care of at-risk Iowans and to essential services for seniors and the disabled. This includes the social safety net that all Iowa families might need in the future.

Two: With a cost of $4.2 billion, this will be the largest single purchase in state history. The winner will most likely be for-profit, out-of-state companies that will take home as much as $630 million a year.  [Bolding BFIA’s]

Under the Governor’s plan, these decisions will be made at breakneck speed by a handful of people in his administration. The Branstad Administration plans to do more and do it faster than any other state. This approach ignores lessons other states have learned when adopting the managed care approach: Be methodical. Work with vulnerable Iowans and service providers. Take the time to make sure you do it right.

Iowa Medicaid is, after all, Iowa’s second largest insurance company.

This week, the Iowa Senate unanimously approved SF 452 to protect vulnerable Iowans and the safety net we all count on.

SF 452 creates a process to closely monitor this transition, ensure that tax dollars are used wisely, and be sure that vulnerable Iowans have access to critical healthcare services. It outlines consumer protections to protect high-quality care that emphasizes consumer choice, self-direction, person and family centered care, nearby access to care, and fair appeals.

The Senate voted this week to provide some accountability to ensure that the most vulnerable Iowans have access to quality health care.

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