Since the Governor unilaterally privatized Medicaid in 2016, people have been systematically denied critical care, essential medical equipment and have had their services severely reduced or cut altogether. Providers have had to close their doors, or like the University of Iowa Dental School, have stopped taking Medicaid patients altogether because the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) are not paying them. In fact, the most recent report released by the State Ombudsman Office, the independent department responsible for investigating complaints against the state and local governments, found that there has been a 157% increase in Medicaid-related problems reported to the agency in 2017. Even with all of these issues, the MCOs are still getting a big raise from the Republican Lawmakers to the tune of $102.9 million, or a 7.5% increase.
Every quarter, Governor Reynolds and Republican lawmakers continue to throw money at the MCOs without getting to the root of the problem. Democrats are concerned the State is shirking its responsibility, when it turns over the care of Iowans to private companies who seem more interested in lining their pockets with taxpayer money, than helping those individuals on Medicaid receive the services they need.
Medicaid provides health care to 600,000 Iowans, including those in nursing homes. According to recent estimates, about 70% of Medicaid dollars are used for the elderly, severely disabled, and poor. Because this affects our most vulnerable population, it is imperative we understand the true impact privatization is having on our state.