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Auditor Says Iowa's Projected Medicaid Savings Is Accurate; Democrats Say Report Lacks Data

Joyce Russell/IPR file
Outgoing Auditor Mary Mosiman agreed last summer to examine Iowa's privatized Medicaid program.

Iowa’s outgoing state auditor says the Department of Human Services is correctly calculating the savings from having private companies manage Iowa Medicaid. But the lawmaker who asked for an audit says the report doesn’t provide good answers.

The management of Iowa Medicaid was handed over to private companies in 2016. Auditor Mary Mosiman, a Republican, says the state’s estimate of $126 million in savings this year, as of early November, is accurate.  In May, the state projected $141 million in savings, nearly triple last December’s projection of $47 million.

Democratic state Sen. Pam Jochum of Dubuque requested the audit this summer. Monday, she called the findings “a big pile of excuses.”

“There was no solid, accurate methodologies put in place in order to gather information, actually be able to dissect it and actually give the taxpayer accurate information,” Jochum said, adding Mosiman’s audit lacks data showing how much the companies still owe hospitals and healthcare providers and whether the private model is making Iowans healthier.

More than 600,000 low-income and disabled Iowans are on Medicaid. Democrat Rob Sand, who was elected this month to replace Mosiman, is critical of the audit and says he will continue to “dig into the issue” when he assumes the office in January.

Mosiman says the state should have established a method to estimate program cost savings when they made the privitization change.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.