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Feds Approve Medicaid Privatization for Iowa

John Pemble/IPR
Iowa State Capitol

After months of discussion, out of state for-profit companies now have the go-ahead to take over Iowa’s Medicaid program for the poor and disabled on April 1st.  

The Branstad administration Tuesday received word of approval from the federal government though the date was once again delayed.  

In December, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services delayed implementation from January 1st to March 1st, stating that key requirements on 16 action items were not met, including adequate provider networks to serve Iowa’s more than 500,000  Medicaid patients. 

Now the agency says the networks cover 90% of past users, more information has been made available to both patients and providers, and dropped calls to CMS which reached 42% in December have been mostly eliminated.  

The agency says it’s confident the state will complete recruitment of providers and training of case managers by April 1st.   CMS will monitor the transition to managed care.

In   a written statement, Human Services budgetwriter Democratic Senator Amanda Ragan says families living with severe medical challenges know the system isn’t ready.   She says she’ thankful for another month of delay. 

DHS Budget Committee Co-chair Senator Liz Mathis says now, more than ever, robust oversight is needed.

In his statement, Governor Branstad says he’s pleased that CMS has approved Iowa’s plan to provide a better system for Medicaid patients.