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Democrats: Medicaid Companies 'Kicking Back' State Dollars to Reynolds Campaign

Joyce Russell/IPR
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price

The Democratic Party of Iowa today accused Gov. Kim Reynolds  of corruption in office for taking campaign contributions from one of the managed care organizations that are  benefiting from the privatization of Medicaid services in Iowa.    

According to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Board, the political action committee for Anthem, Inc., the parent company of Amerigroup, has given $2500 this year to the Reynolds campaign.  A contribution of $1500 arrived on August 22, two days before contracts were signed with the private firms.

"It doesn't take a lot to connect the dots." Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price

Critics note that on August 24, the MCO’s were awarded a 7.5 percent increase in state funds worth $100 million, even as some services to disabled Iowans have been cut back.      

Rick Durham of Ankeny has a 39-year old intellectually disabled son who relies on a 7-year-old nephew to help him cross the street.    At a Democratic Party of Iowa news conference, Durham describes one planned cutback that he says will endanger his son.  

“My son may be required to lose overnight staff and have electronic sensors that ring into who knows where to cover him at night,” Durham said at an Iowa Democratic Party news conference.  “That would be a serious danger.”

Durham says the caseload for his son’s new case manager under the private company has doubled from 30 to 60.   They now see the case manager about once every three months instead of every month.

Referring to the campaign contributions, Democratic Party of Iowa chair Troy Price says the company is “kicking back” tax dollars to the Reynolds campaign.   

"Democrats ... play politics with people's health care." -Reynolds Campaign Spokesman Pat Garrett

“It doesn’t take a lot to connect the dots here,” Price said.  “Gov. Reynolds is showing that you have to pay if you want to play with her administration.”

A spokesman for the Reynolds campaign was quick to respond.

"These accusations are as false as they are desperate,”  wrote campaign manager Pat Garrett in an e-mail.  “The Democrats have no solutions and no plan, so once again they play politics with people’s health care.”

The parent company of Amerigroup has also contributed thousands of dollars to state legislators of both parties and to the Branstad campaign going back to 2016.    

A spokesman for the governor defended the increase in funding to the MCO’s.

“Funding levels for Medicaid contracts are based on analysis and recommendations from the Department of Human Services and its independent actuary,” Brenna Smith wrote in an e-mail.   “Those numbers, which must be approved by a federal agency, are based on expected medical costs for the program and the more than 680,000 Iowans who rely on Medicaid.”

“Gov. Reynolds will continue to make improvements to the Medicaid system and focus on providing long-term, sustainable care to Iowans who need it," Garrett added.