A key member of the Kim Reynolds administration faces a confirmation vote in the Iowa Senate, and at least one Democrat says it is not a done deal.
Jerry Foxhoven has directed the Department of Human Services since June, while complaints have continued to pour in about Iowa’s new privatized Medicaid system, including denial of care for patients, and delayed payments to doctors and hospitals.
At her weekly news conference, Gov. Reynolds said Foxhoven has done a great job in his short time in office.
“He’s brought a fresh look to the agency, working with state employees to tell them they’re doing a great job and find out how he can work with them to do their job better,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds praised in particular Foxhoven’s work overseeing Medicaid.
“As we've said to all the senators and reps if they have a particular issue where they feel like they’re not getting it resolved, please come to our office or Jerry’s office,” Reynolds said. “But they are working collectively to stabilize the system.”
Confirmation requires five Democratic votes in the full Senate. All of the Democrats on the Human Resources Committee voted against confirmation. Republicans on the committee voted to recommend confirmation for Foxhoven, but they did not speak out on his behalf.
"I can't tell you if he will or will not get confirmed,” said Sen. Liz Mathis (D-Robins), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Human Resources Committee. “I think right now that's up to him, so he needs to come and talk to Senate Democrats about his job performance from June until now.”
Mathis says some health care providers tell her they may have to cut services or close their doors because of the backlog of unpaid Medicaid bills.
“Not much has changed, so we still have a lot of providers who are owed a lot of money," Mathis said.
“His record speaks pretty good and I have confidence he'll be confirmed in the end,” Reynolds said.
Democrats last year defeated confirmation for two members of the Iowa Board of Medicine because of their votes on so-called telemed abortions.