The Courtney Report

Courtney Report

The following are excerpts from Sen. Courtney’s newsletter. The full newsletter can be seen here.

Despite its disappointing and troubling start, the Branstad-Reynolds Medicaid privatization plan is moving forward. Our job now is to ensure Iowa’s health care safety net remains strong. After all, every one of us is just one accident or illness away from needing Medicaid help.

If your parent, spouse or child has a severe disability, chances are they’ll be on Medicaid. In fact, most Medicaid dollars help our elderly and Iowans with disabilities. We’ll protect them with tough, bipartisan oversight and accountability measures for the out-of-state corporations that will be running the program.

Senate File 2213, which won bipartisan approval in the Senate, will safeguard the interests of Medicaid members, encourage the participation of health care providers, and ensure the tax dollars of hard-working Iowans are spent properly.

We’ll also continue to make system improvements by:

* Requiring stronger consumer protections, rate and payment regulation, data collection and evaluation.
* Creating a fund to finance improvements.
* Providing a comprehensive review of program integrity.
* Enhancing the role and responsibilities of the Health Policy Oversight Committee.
* Assigning authority to a Managed Care Ombudsman.
* Expanding the Medical Assistance Advisory Council.

All of this is necessary because the Branstad-Reynolds Administration took a “too much, too fast” approach to Medicaid privatization.
{my emphasis} The federal government imposed two delays, but with implementation coming April 1, Iowans are urgently speaking out. Every Iowa legislator has heard from them.

With so many unanswered questions, oversight is a must. We can’t let privatization hurt the very people Medicaid is supposed to help.

A generation ago, mail was delivered to your house; photos were kept in an album; thoughts were recorded in a diary; documents were filed in a cabinet; and money was deposited at a bank. The Internet has changed all that.

Today, many Iowans keep their photos online, interact with friends and family through Facebook and store data and documents on a server. If you die or become disabled, survivors may not be able to access these digital assets.

No Iowa law provides the administrator of an estate or a person with power of attorney to access your Facebook page, Gmail, Shutterfly account or Dropbox. If an active Internet user dies, survivors may not be able to get important family photos or shut down a Facebook account that serves as a painful reminder of the loss. The companies storing these assets on their servers are “custodians,” who often prohibit access to grieving families.

Senate File 2112 moves Iowa into the 21st century by giving Internet users the power to plan for their digital assets, just like they would for physical property. By providing procedures for allowing access to digital accounts, Iowans can decide how all of their assets will be handled when they can no longer do so themselves.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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