Iowa Senate votes to repeal governor's Medicaid plan — 6 highlights

Mary Rechtoris - Print  |

On Feb. 11, the Iowa Senate voted to repeal Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's Medicaid plan, according to The Des Moines Register.

Here are six highlights:

1. Gov. Branstad's plan allows private companies to manage Iowa's Medicaid program, which serves nearly 560,000 low-income and disabled people. The program costs $4.2 billion a year.

2. Legislators will likely debate the Medicaid issue in the state during the 2016 session, but many lawmakers agree healthcare should help Iowa's most vulnerable citizens while enhancing care and lowering costs.

3. Sen. Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig) implored legislators to proceed with the privatization plan, saying the state budget last year included a managed care plan. The senator also cautioned Iowa Medicaid costs have been escalating far more than other areas of state spending, making managed care a key way to control expenses.

4. Gov. Branstad's Medicaid plan had an implementation date scheduled on Jan. 1, but federal lawmakers delayed the implementation date until at least March 1 due to issues. Democrats claim the plan had an unrealistic implementation timeline and fails to create sufficient healthcare providers.

5. Opponents also say the plan reduces the quality of and access to healthcare services, compromises patient care and facilitates inadequate communication between patients and service providers.

6. Sen. Branstad's plan would pay three private companies including UnitedHealthcare, Amerigroup and Amerihealth as much as $504 million in the first year to manage the state's Medicaid program. The senator claims the plan will save the state as much as $51.3 million in the first six months.

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