Does Reynolds Know What She Is Doing?


Based on Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ dismissal of the head of the Iowa Department of Human Services, Jerry Foxhoven, last week, it is very easy to conclude that she doesn’t.

Since the departure of Terry Branstad, Reynolds basically seems to be flailing around trying to figure out what she is doing. At the center of Reynolds lack of leadership is the ridiculous and inhumane privatized Medicaid system that seems to be set up to maximize profits for the MCOs (Managed Care Organizations) with little regard to the experiences of the patients. 

The Reynolds administration can’t even figure out how to maximize the profits for the MCOs. Branstad created a mess with privatized Medicaid. Reynolds incompetence has turned it into a monster. Much in the mold of our current president, rather than take responsibility for her screw-ups, Reynolds finds a scape goat and fires them. 

Iowans had glimpses of Reynolds incompetence during her interim stint as governor. We could have elected a very competent Fred Hubbell who would have cleaned this mess up. Instead Iowans continued to live in a fantasy world they have created where they believe that Republicans are competent. 

Now what? Surely the Reynolds team will most likely make a decision that will cost us more and make problems worse. The Des Moines Register addressed this question Thursday in an editorial entitled Reynolds should explain Foxhoven’s departure and her vision for next DHS leader:   

In their editorial The Register notes:

That is especially true when you’re the person charged with managing chaos caused by politicians who closed a state institution for troubled girls, forfeited federal money for family planning and banned Planned Parenthood from obtaining grants.


Defending the misguided, GOP-led privatization of Medicaid is virtually impossible. Unfortunately, Foxhoven, a smart man who should have known better, repeatedly tried to do exactly that.

He did so even as Iowans lost access to health care. And health providers closed their doors. And for-profit insurers demanded and received more and more taxpayer money. And two of the three original for-profit insurers hired to manage care for 600,000 poor or disabled Iowans packed up and left the state.

Then addressing the question of who will take Foxhoven’s place, the Register cautions:

Hopefully, it will be someone dedicated to taking care of people instead of pleasing politicians.

Hopefully, it will not be a failed leader from another state, like Medicaid director Mike Randol, an advocate of privatization brought here by Reynolds after he left the Kansas program in shambles.

Well said. Unfortunately Reynolds agenda does not seem to be driven by what is best for the state and its people, but instead is driven by what a small group of donors want. This doesn’t bode well for Iowans.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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