Des Moines, Iowa — House Speaker Pat Grassley says Republicans in the House plan to increase the rate that Iowa nursing homes are paid to care for residents enrolled in Medicaid.
The Medicaid program pays for the care of over half of Iowa nursing home residents. Grassley says the current reimbursement rate was set before COVID hit, based on nursing home costs in 2018. Since then, nursing homes have been dealing with inflation and paying higher wages to try to keep and attract workers. Seventeen nursing homes closed last year due to financial strain and advocates warn more closures will happen if the Medicaid reimbursement rate doesn’t rise.
According to the Iowa Health Care Association, the daily rate Iowa Medicaid pays is covering just 80 percent of the costs of providing nursing home care.
Grassley says House Republicans have a handful of state spending priorities like this one that put their overall state spending plan about 50 million dollars above the target amount Governor Reynolds recommended in January. Republicans in the Senate have signaled they’re building a budget with a bottom line number of about eight-and-a-half billion dollars, which is identical to the governor’s budget plan. Governor Reynolds is recommending the state spend 15 million more on the Medicaid reimbursement rate for nursing homes. Grassley says Republicans in the House have not yet decided on an amount.