KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Iowa’s Medicaid Privatization Plan Gets Feds’ OK — But Delayed Until April 1

Gov. Terry Branstad originally planned to shift to private management of the state-federal low-income health insurance program starting Jan. 1.

Des Moines Register: Feds OK Medicaid Privatization, With Another Delay
Gov. Terry Branstad gained federal approval Tuesday for his controversial plan to turn Medicaid over to private managers, but not until April 1. Branstad originally planned to make the massive shift on Jan. 1. Federal administrators determined in December that Iowa was not ready to turn the 560,000 poor or disabled people who use the program over to three private management companies. They ordered the state to wait until at least March 1. ... The governor contends that the new system, similar to many other states’, will offer more efficient, effective care. Critics fear it inevitably will lead to deep cuts in services, as the private companies try to make profits. (Leys and Clayworth, 2/23)

Iowa Public Radio: Feds Approve Medicaid Privatization For Iowa
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. (Russell, 2/23)

KCCI (Des Moines): Approved! Iowa Can Proceed With Medicaid Privatization
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer issued a statement following the announcement: "With CMS approval, Iowans finally have certainty on the future of Medicaid Modernization. I am optimistic that the move to managed care will bring more predictability to the Medicaid program while also improving the health and well-being of the patients it serves. House Republicans will continue efforts to assist those affected by the transition to ensure that Medicaid patients continue to receive high-quality healthcare. (2/23)

Des Moines Register: Culver To Lead Medicaid Protest Rally At Iowa Capitol
Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver will lead a rally at the Iowa Capitol at 2 p.m. Wednesday to protest Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's plans to push ahead with the privatization of the state's Medicaid program, which serves 560,000 low-income and disabled people. Pete McRoberts, a Culver spokesman, said the rally will still be held despite an announcement Tuesday that federal officials have given a go-ahead for Iowa's Medicaid program to adopt the managed care model on April 1. "Yes, the rally is still on. The switch is 37 days away and we intend to use each one of those days to make sure that everyone's needs are properly met, particularly if 1 April truly is a hard start date," McRoberts said. (Petroski, 2/23)

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