“Lost Schools,” Iowa Medicaid Changes, JCDems Fall BBQ

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In addition to [Governor Branstad’s] deadly decision to unilaterally close two critically needed Iowa mental health facilities, his veto of $55 million in much-needed funding for our local schools because he said we could not afford it and his decision to turn over a well-run, $4.2 billion Medicaid program to four profit-driven Wall Street managed care companies, his latest end run around the Legislature would give a $50-$90 million corporate tax cut to Iowa’s largest, most profitable manufactures.

Governor Branstad by many measures is out of control. The longest-serving Governor appears to believe he is all powerful. He is acting more like a dictator than a Governor. He knows better than you do. What next?

HEALTH CARE CHANGES COULD HARM VULNERABLE IOWANS

Many Iowans are expressing concern about Governor Branstad’s unilateral decision to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid program. If fully implemented, the Governor’s decision would have negative impacts on Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens and Iowa’s healthcare providers.

I’m concerned that people in our communities will be denied critical medical services and that local providers will not be adequately reimbursed for the medical care of patients. The long-term care of severely disabled adults and children makes up the bulk of Medicaid services in Iowa. Medicaid also covers prenatal care to pregnant women, health insurance for low-income children, and health care for low-income seniors and others.

The Governor’s plan is to turn over the care of more than a half-million Iowans—one in five Iowans—to four managed care companies by January 1, 2016. With this change, we will see administrative costs jump from 3 to 12 percent, reaching $600 million. At the same time, the overall cost to the state is supposed to fall by $100 million a year.

The math doesn’t add up. The only way these companies can collect the multimillion dollar profits guaranteed them is by denying critical services to Iowans and by failing to fully pay local health care organizations for services they provide.

The managed care companies have yet to sign contracts with the state, so providers are being asked to sign contracts that don’t include reimbursement rates. Medicaid recipients and their families have good reason to be worried about the future.

Iowans who depend on Medicaid and the people and organizations that care for them need more time. That’s why I’m calling on the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reject the Governor’s plan to put Iowa’s Medicaid Program in private hands or make major changes to it.

The federal government invests a significant amount in Iowa Medicaid services. We have a responsibility to federal taxpayers and to Iowans who need these services. We need to make sure, for example, that patient outcomes continue to improve and that access to health care is not decreased.

We all need to work together to make sure quality health care services remain available to local seniors, people with physical and mental disabilities, and mothers and children.
Share your concerns

If you are concerned about the Governor’s reckless privatization of Iowa Medicaid, make your voice heard.

I encourage you to share your views with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by writing to Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at andy.slavitt@cms.hhs.gov or 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244.
Where you can learn more

To learn more about privatizing Medicaid in Iowa, go to www.dhs.iowa.gov/ime/about/initiatives/MedicaidModernization.

In addition, the Iowa Department of Human Services is hosting meetings to help local Iowans understand what the transition means for them. These include:

For Medicaid recipients and their families:

Monday, November 16, 5 to 7 p.m., Cedar Rapids Public Library, Ladd Library (3750 Williams Blvd., Cedar Rapids).

Wednesday, November 18, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Coralville Public Library: Rms. A & B (1405 5th St. Coralville).

For community partners, advocates and other stakeholders (to attend stakeholder meetings, you must register at www.dhs.iowa.gov/node/1049).

Friday, October 16,  2 to 4 p.m., Kirkwood Community College – Hotel Kirkwood Ballroom A & F (7725 Kirkwood Boulevard SW, Cedar Rapids).

Get answers to your questions

Medicaid recipients with questions or concerns can call Members Services at 1-800-338-8366.

Questions from providers should be directed to the Provider Services Call Center at 1-800-338-7909.

LOST SCHOOLS

Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines Register’s yearlong series is coming to the big screen. The full-length documentary will debut at an exclusive preview event held at the historic Varsity Theater on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 4 p.m.

This documentary, produced by The Des Moines Register and presented by Iowa Public Television, follows two Iowa districts and their communities for one school year as they wrestle with the monumental consequences of these changes. The footage captures the final classroom moments of one district and unveils the often emotional reality that looms over much of rural America. The film also offers insight into efforts to preserve the remaining pieces of the nation’s once numerically majestic educational system and the rural way of life that has been Iowa’s cultural bedrock.

Des Moines Register journalists Jason Clayworth, Charlie Litchfield and Rodney White chose to tell this story in both print and documentary as a result of the “rural decay” they frequently witnessed while on assignment during the past two decades with the paper.

The exclusive preview event is open to the public and includes a Q&A with writer Jason Clayworth and several of the community leaders and families that are featured in the film. You can purchase a VIP ticket or general admission ticket.

“Lost Schools” Preview Event

Where: Varsity Theater | 1207 25th St. Des Moines, IA 50311
When: Sunday, October 18th | 3:30 p.m. Doors open, 4:00 p.m. Screening followed by Q&A with families and community leaders featured in the film and emceed by writer Jason Clayworth.
Purchase: Tickets for the show are available for pre-purchase at http://tickets.desmoinesregister.com/a/lost-schools-exclusive-preview-event/tickets/JC1013

In addition, Iowa Public Television will air the documentary 15 times starting Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. statewide. For a full list of air dates and times visit www.Iptv.org.

For more information on the year-long series or to purchase a copy of Lost Schools, visit www.DesMoinesRegister.com/LostSchools.

JOHNSON COUNTY DEMOCRATS FALL BARBEQUE – SUNDAY OCTOBER 18, 2015

Come to the BBQ! The Johnson County Democrats will hold their fall BBQ on Sunday at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, 4261 Oak Crest Hill Road SE, Buildings B & C. Doors open at 3:00 pm.

Speakers will include:

State Senator Bob Dvorsky – Building Democratic Majorities in the Iowa House and Senate
Congressman Dave Loebsack – Increasing Iowa’s Democratic Congressional Delegation
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
Jennifer Granholm – Michigan Governor 2003-2011, regular contributor to NBC’s Meet the Press, surrogate for Hillary Clinton

For more information, visit http://jcdems.org.

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