Healthcare companies WellCare and Meridian have both thrown in the towel in their fight for a piece of Iowa’s $4.2 billion Medicaid system. Their decisions follow a ruling by Polk County District Court Judge Robert Blink, which struck down appeals from both companies.
WellCare argued the state was wrong to terminate its contract to manage Iowa's Medicaid system. In November, an administrative judge found WellCare violated the bid process, and the Branstad administration sided with that decision.
But with today's ruling, WellCare VP Blair Todt says while the company disagrees with the decision, "The time has come to move forward...We will now turn our attention to future growth opportunities."
Originally, WellCare was one of four companies selected to manage Iowa’s Medicaid program. The remaining three are slated to take over in two weeks, pending federal approval.
In Meridian's appeal, the company argued the state's evaluation of its application to manage Iowa Medicaid was irrationally flawed and therefore should be reassessed, but Blink did not accept this argument. Healthcare company Aetna also filed an appeal on these grounds, through dropped from the fight last month.
Now that Meridian and WellCare are calling it quits, the state faces no other legal battle from scorned healthcare companies on the road to privatization.