Hats off to Iowa state Senators Liz Mathis of Cedar Rapids, Amanda Ragan of Mason City and Senate president Pam Jochum of Dubuque for taking the fight against Governor Branstad’s raid on the Medicaid program in Iowa to Washington where the asked for the agency to slow or stop the march to profitizing.
There is a finite pie of money that the Branstad administration is trying to reslice and give a large chunk to his buddies in the managed care plan business. Since the pie is finite, the only place the money going to the for-profit administrators could come from is part of the pie that is now going for health care. Somehow Branstad claims that this will be a win for those receiving Medicaid. The Branstad administration has done no analysis to show how the pie will be redistributed, they are simply in a huge hurry to turn the $4.2 billion in the program over to his buddies to run before anyone realizes they have been robbed.
Branstad was re-elected by Iowans last year despite numerous scandals. Since his reelection he has gone into hyper drive in his mission to give taxpayer money to friends of the Republican party in business. Unlike Scott Walker in Wisconsin or Rick Snyder in Michigan where the legislatures make laws to funnel the tax payer’s money to their donors, Branstad has to deal with Democrats controlling one house of the legislature who are unwilling to do his bidding. Thus Branstad is left to creating bogus executive actions to redirect money to their donors. So we have interpretation of tax laws that make no sense and a redistribution of Medicaid funds to give 3rd party administrators a big slice.
So a big thank you to Iowa’s Democrats for pulling out all the stops to see to it that Medicaid funds go to those who the funds were meant for – those who need help to get health care. Also a big thank you to the Iowa Hospitals Association which has filed a lawsuit to stop the headlong dive into making Medicaid much less workable.
Tuning in to a Medicaid listening session being held by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Thursday it became obvious very quickly that there has been very little planning by the Branstad Administration beyond cutting checks to the managed care plan companies. Calls were received from a broad cross section of people and organizations that deal with Iowa’s Medicaid program. From every corner the message was quite clear that the Branstad Administration’s only planning has been in the area of giving our money to the managed care people. One participant noted that the MCOs (managed care organizations) have been guaranteed 15% off the top. What a waste!
(side note – sounds like Branstad plans as well as George W did going in to Iraq. Just do it and everything will be alright. Now we have ISIL.)
Branstad’s recent power grabs on school funding, closing mental health facilities, Medicaid, tax treatment for businesses and other areas must be challenged vigorously. What he and his administration are doing – setting up methods to funnel tax payer money to donors and cronies – is way beyond the pale. It is way past time that Iowans stop one of the Governor’s unethical and possibly illegal moves.
Our hats off also to those citizens who are standing up and saying a loud “NO!” to Branstad. This is what democracy is about. Standing up to the bullies who try to turn government into an income redistribution system from the poor to the rich. If we work together we can stop the railroading by the likes of Branstad, Walker, Snyder, or Rick Scott in Florida.
Even if Branstad is stopped on this front, what will be his next move to move our money to his cronies? This surely will not his last attempt. This is where a vigilant democracy comes into play.