Loss of MCO means more Medicaid problems for Iowans

Ragan Report: Privatized, for-profit Medicaid continues to cause chaos and uncertainty for Iowa families, health care providers, and tax-payers.

Last week, we learned that UnitedHealthcare is leaving Iowa’s Medicaid managed care program. UnitedHealthcare currently is the MCO for more than 70 percent of Iowans on Medicaid. That means 425,000 Iowans will again have their health care disrupted, as they are forced to switch insurance companies. This could put our most vulnerable in life or death situations.

This is just the latest in a series of problems that have plagued privatized Medicaid since its inception three years ago in Iowa. Democrats have offered ideas for meaningful improvements—but time and again, they fall on deaf ears.

Elected officials should listen to Iowans who depend on Medicaid, and to health care providers, family caregivers and taxpayers. Together, Iowans can fix our broken health care system. We can turn this problem into a success that will make our state healthier, stronger and a more attractive place to live.

If you agree, please sign our petition and join Democrat-ic lawmakers in calling on Statehouse Republicans to fix Iowa’s failed Medicaid privatization experiment. Go to io-wansforqualitymedcaid.com to sign the petition and share it with others who share our concerns!

Ensuring family caregivers have the information they need

Ensuring family caregivers have the information they need, a bill to help Iowa’s 317,000 family caregivers who ensure their loved ones can live independently at home passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support and awaits the Governor’s signature.

SF 210—the Iowa CARE Act—allows Iowans to designate a caregiver who will be given instructions to care for them when they are discharged from a hospital.

The CARE Act has four main components:

• Designate - If a patient designates a family caregiver, that person’s name will be recorded when the patient is admitted to a hospital.

• Notify - The caregiver will be notified when the patient is to be discharged.

• Consult - The hospital will discuss with the caregiver their abilities and limitations.

• Instruct - The hospital will explain the patient’s care needs and the medical tasks they require, such as medication management, injections, and wound care.

Iowa is one of only 13 states that do not have such provisions for family caregivers. SF 210 will give Iowans the same type of protections that caregivers across the country already enjoy.

For more on the CARE Act and how it can help Iowans, go to aarp.org/IACareAct2019.

Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) serves Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties in Senate District 27. She can be reached at 515-281-3371 or 641-424-0874. Email her at amanda.ragan@legis.iowa.gov