Privatized Medicaid So Far? Another Huge Branstad Failure.

Sen.  Mathis chairs committee holding hearings on Medicaid privatization

Sen. Mathis chairs committee holding hearings on Medicaid privatization

Democratic state senators are doing what any good legislators should be doing – watching over state programs to make sure they come up to the level they need to be at. With nearly 560,000 Iowans dependent on Medicaid, moving the program from a stable government run program to a program run by untested private concerns raised bells and whistles all over.

In such a situation close monitoring should be the order of the day. Situations like this is just what the watchdog function of the state legislature was made for. Holding those responsible for their actions should be (but often isn’t) a basic function of government.

Democrats in the Iowa Senate held a hearing on problems with Iowa’s new privately managed Medicaid program, which provides health care for the poor and disabled.

The issues include delayed payments for providers, and claims denied for services.

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Providers also say it takes too long for the companies to authorize treatments.

“The amount of additional labor to deal with these companies is shocking,” says Kent Jackson with Saint Luke’s Behavioral Health in Cedar Rapids. “Across our hospital we estimated four-and-a-half additional staff.”

By one estimate, officials say as many as 25 percent of claims are being denied.

The way this whole plan was conceived and carried out was almost reminiscent of a movie about a group of bungling thieves setting out to rob the bank without any planning but with all eyes on the money.

Who could have ever predicted anything like this would happen? Oh, yeah, Democrats in the legislature:

DES MOINES — The state Senators responsible for health care policy and funding have asked Obama Administration officials to stop or significantly slow down Governor Branstad’s massive effort to privatize Iowa Medicaid services.

The letter from Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City and Senator Liz Mathis of Robins notes that the Branstad/Reynolds Administration has a deadly record of failure when it comes to making changes in health care services:

“We have already witnessed the tragic and unnecessary deaths of three Iowans caused by the Governor’s unilateral decision to close two mental health institutes in our state. The Governor appears to be on a similar path with his hasty, unilateral decision to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid program. That’s why we are worried that hundreds or even thousands of Iowans will be put at risk by management companies that will profit by denying critical services to seniors, people with physical and mental disabilities, children and moms.”

When we have a governor who is so hell bent on giving our tax dollars to his cronies, nothing will stop him except voting him out of office.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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