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Bipartisan Agreement Reached on Medicaid Oversight

Joyce Russell/IPR
Chief Medicaid Negotiator Rep. Linda Miller (R-Bettendorf)

After months of negotiations, statehouse Democrats and Republicans have reached agreement on how to keep an eye on the new privatized Medicaid system. Since April 1, health care for more than half a million Iowans has been managed by for-profit companies. 

Rep. Linda Miller (R-Bettendorf) says under the compromise more consumers will be added to a key Medicaid advisory council.

“We’ve told the governor he has to get the consumers on there,” Miller said, “at least ten consumers on there, I think, by July 1st.”

Also an independent panel will review data from the for-profit companies to ensure they are complying with their contracts with the state.    

Miller says Democrats wanted to increase the number of long-term care ombudsmen looking out for patients’ welfare.

“They got another independent ombudsman and more powers for the ombudsman to go in and investigate any problems that arise in long-term care,” Miller said.

Key negotiator Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) was resigned to the compromise.

“This is the strongest oversight the Senate could reach with the House,” Ragan said

In final voting Democrats in the Iowa House were not on board.

“With four billion dollars and health care for 560,000 Iowans on the line, this body should have supported meaningful oversight of the Medicaid privatization mess,” said House minority leader Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown.) 

Under the compromise a statehouse health policy oversight committee formed last year will continue its work, though Miller says Republicans did not see the need to create a new oversight panel.