Letter to the Editor: Failures of Medicaid privatization

To the Editor:

Instead of strengthening access to health care, our current governor has limited access to health care. For Iowa’s most vulnerable, the privatization of Medicaid has been a disaster, a disaster that the governor has refused to fix. Sharing the responsibility for this disaster is our state representative and the state legislators who are from the same political party as the governor and who are in control of the state house and state senate.

Over 600,000 Iowans receive Medicaid. Sixty percent of them are children.  Half of the seniors in nursing homes are on Medicaid.  Our Iowans with disabilities, which includes Allamakee residents with disabilities, are also Medicaid recipients. Here’s how it worked when the State of Iowa used to administer the $5 billion Medicaid program. People received care. Care providers received reimbursement.  This was true until Governor Branstad turned over the operation of the state-administered Medicaid program to  three private, for-profit, out of state insurance companies (AmeriGroup, United Healthcare, AmeriHealth).

Branstad and our current governor claimed that for-profit insurers could do a better job administering Medicaid, save money and hold down costs. This has proven to be false. The average cost of insuring an Iowan on Medicaid has tripled according to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.  These insurers are denying services to people with disabilities, refusing in-home care to those in need, and failing to reimburse health care providers. So, what has been our governor’s response to this disaster? It has been to give these for-profit companies a giant raise to the tune of $345 million.

This election, support the party which will return Medicaid to an effective, efficient state-administered program.  People will then get the care they need. Providers will be paid. Taxpayers will benefit.

Karen Pratte


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