Des Moines, Iowa — The plan to move Medicaid patients in Iowa to private managed care plans has received federal approval.
Governor Terry Branstad’s office has announced that the plan, called IA Health Link, has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the implementation date has been moved back from March 1st to April 1st. The switch will impact some 560-thousand Iowans. A statement from the governor’s office says the approval allows the state to “move forward with a modern and managed Medicaid system.”
Democrats have opposed the Republican governor’s plan and three Republicans, including Senator David Johnson from Ocheyedan, joined all 26 Democrats in the Iowa Senate in voting for a bill to end the privatization plan. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake refused to bring it to a vote there, saying the governor would only veto the bill anyway. Branstad called attempts to stop the plan “outrageous and political.”
Upmeyer issued a statement saying she is “optimistic that the move to managed care will bring more predictability to the Medicaid program, while also improving the health and well-being of the patients it serves.”
The chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, Doctor Andy McGuire, issued a statement where she commended Democrats in both the House and Senate who fought what she calls “this rushed and reckless plan.” McGuire says the Branstad Administration must now listen to Iowans and make certain the transition takes place as smoothly as possible and does not interrupt care or services.