Issue: Medicaid

Iowa’s Medicaid Mess is All Too Familiar

Much like Iowa, things have not gone well with Medicaid privatization in Kansas. And, again like Iowa, promises that the MCOs would save millions of dollars and make people healthier have been called into question. So much so that in April 2017, Kansas legislators directed the state’s independent auditors to find out whether KanCare is working. Their conclusion: It’s not.

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5 Things to Know about Medicaid Work Requirements

A lawsuit before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., will determine whether tens of thousands of low-income adults in Kentucky will have to find jobs or volunteer in order to retain their health coverage. But the ruling could have far-reaching implications affecting millions of enrollees nationwide and determining how far the Trump administration can go in changing Medicaid without congressional action.

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Essential to Health, Food Assistance Faces Uncertainty

The new Farm Bill aims to restrict eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP (food stamps) recipients across the country. Without SNAP, food banks like The Crisis Center in Johnson County could not meet client need. Food banks are designed to be a supplemental food source, not a replacement for food stamps. SNAP can provide 12 meals for every one meal a food pantry can provide. Already, The Crisis Center is nearing capacity, distributing almost 2 million pounds of food annually.

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What the Data Says about Medicaid, Work and Work Requirements

As of December 2017, 32 states (including Iowa) had expanded Medicaid. By design, expansion extended coverage to the working poor (both parents and childless adults), most of whom do not otherwise have access to affordable coverage. Some states and the Trump administration have stated that expansion targets “able-bodied” adults. In response, they want Medicaid eligibility contingent on work. Under current law, states cannot impose a Medicaid work requirement. However, some states are asking for waivers to this law and the Trump administration has indicated a willingness to approve such waivers.

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ACA Progress Remains Under Attack

The ACA has fulfilled its promise to extend health care coverage to millions of Americans, who in turn are no longer existing on the edges of the health care system. But health care advocates must remain aware of seemingly small changes that in fact are already undermining the ACA’s progress and increasing the number of Americans who are uninsured.

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Iowa’s Budget Needs to Prioritize Health Care

Iowa hospitals and other providers are urging legislators – and asking Iowans to join – to resist any further cuts to budget items that support Iowa hospitals or the Medicaid program and to restore retroactive Medicaid enrollment for all providers. Iowa’s budget should not be balanced on the backs of its most vulnerable citizens and those who provide them health care.

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How Medicaid Reduces Poverty: Summarizing the Research

In 2016, about 13 percent of the US population lived in poverty. Children continue to live disproportionately in poverty: children represent 23 percent of the population, but 33 percent of the population living in poverty. Research shows that Medicaid helps pull families out of poverty by providing access to affordable health coverage and lowering out-of-pocket costs. Here are some examples of that research.

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No Car, No Care? Medicaid Transportation Threatened

Called non-emergency medical transportation, or NEMT, the benefit is as old as Medicaid itself. From its inception, in 1966, Medicaid has been required to transport people to and from such medical services as mental health counseling sessions, substance abuse treatment, dialysis, physical therapy and adult day care. But now at least three states, including Iowa, have received federal waivers — and extensions —allowing them to cut Medicaid transportation services.

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Health Care Sector Worth $17 Billion to Iowa Economy

In all, Iowa’s health care sector, which includes hospitals, offices of physicians, dentists and other health practitioners, nursing home and residential care, other medical and health services and pharmacies, contributes $17 billion to the state economy while directly and indirectly providing 330,308 jobs, or about 20 percent of the state’s total non-farm employment. Iowa hospitals on their own employ more than 74,000 people and inject $7.1 billion into the state economy.

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