Sen. Amanda Ragan's notes from the Capitol Put Iowans back in charge of Medicaid

Ragan Report: Since April 2016, when Iowa Medicaid was turned over to out-of-state companies, constituents have complained about the obstacles they face getting care and services. Many hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers - especially in Iowa's small towns and rural areas - agree the privatized system is not working. They aren't being properly reimbursed for the care they provide. They face red tape, bureaucratic nightmares, financial jeopardy, and some have even been forced to close their doors.

The state keeps giving private, out-of-state companies Iowan's dollars to run Medicaid. Yet things continue to get worse. This is not how health care for sick, injured and disabled Iowans should work.

I support SF 2058, a bill to end privatized Medicaid and put Iowans back in control of a state-run system that provides affordable health care to more than 560,000 citizens. For the health and safety of our citizens, let's put Iowans back in control of Medicaid.

Sound principles must guide tax reform

Iowans deserve accountability when it comes to how government spends your hard-earned tax dollars. I am ready to work on true tax reform that benefits Iowa, and is based on good values and principles.

Tax reform must:

- Be fair for everyday Iowans.

- Simplify Iowa's tax code to highlight our state's true competitiveness.

- Examine corporate tax credits.

- Be developed with everyone's input.

- Take into account our current budget situation.

Iowans want us to make wise choices to improve our state's budget mess. Currently, Iowa families are paying the price for a state government that is failing to provide essential services.

A.G. aims to protect internet in Iowa

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is working with state attorneys general in 20 other states to challenge the federal government's repeal of "net neutrality."

They hope to reinstate Federal Communication Commission rules that barred Internet service providers from intentionally blocking, slowing down or charging money for specific websites and online content. Miller says such protections are needed, especially for Iowans in small towns and rural areas.

"In our rural areas, where many consumers may have only a single internet service provider at best, the FCC's repeal means that provider now gets to pick winners and losers by choosing what content you can load fast, slow, or not at all," Miller said. "I'm concerned that this could widen our existing urban-rural digital divide."

Net neutrality rules, passed in 2015, prevented Internet service providers from slowing or blocking the digital flow of content and applications, and from offering faster data channels for those willing to pay more. The repeal enables ISPs to give preference to some sites, block or reduce data speeds for others, and charge users to access specific content.

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.