Opinion

Recent health care news has left many Iowans frustrated. In recent weeks, we’ve learned that:

n The federal government has approved Iowa’s bad decision to cut coverage for new Medicaid recipients. About 40,000 Iowans will no longer get necessary medical care in the weeks before they receive official approval that they’re eligible for Medicaid. Iowa is the only state to deny these reimbursements for new Medicaid members.

n One of the private companies that provides Medicaid in Iowa is leaving the state. That means 215,000 Iowans must find new providers — including thousands of Iowans with special needs — with only a month’s notice. Beginning in December, Iowa will have only two Managed Care Organizations for all of our state’s Medicaid recipients.

n Iowans who need to buy their own health insurance for 2018 have only one option. Two companies that have sold health insurance directly to Iowans (Wellmark and Aetna) are discontinuing those policies. That leaves only Medica, which is significantly increasing its rates.

We have to do better for Iowans.

Washington has gotten nowhere with promised health care reform. Congress hasn’t managed to put together a health care package that Americans want, but has instead undermined many of the best features of our current system.

Iowa Democrats, Republicans and Independents must work together with the governor on a solution.

Our first step must be to recognize that Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system is not working for Iowa families, health care providers and taxpayers. Privatized Medicaid was billed as a money-saving move that would provide better health care. Instead, it has been costly and chaotic.

Please share your questions and concerns with me at rita.hart@legis.iowa.gov so that I can speak up for you as we work through Iowa’s health care mess. I will continue to push for better, more affordable health care for all Iowans.

Iowa Sen. Rita Hart (D-Wheatland) represents Clinton County and northern Scott County in the Iowa Senate.

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