IA-Gov: Kim Reynolds’ net approval has dropped dramatically

Aug 03, 2018

Disaster relief, or just a disaster?

Dunno if anyone else noticed when Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was videoed hugging Vermeer Manufacturing CEO Jason Andringa during her visit to Pella. I kinda wondered whether “Governor of Vermeer” was going to go over well in the aftermath of all the other damage inflicted by the tornadoes on July 20th. Did the good folks in the C-suite at Lennox Industries in Marshalltown also got a hug from the guv? How about the ordinary folks busy picking up pieces of their lives? Marshalltown Mayor Jim Lowrance sure looked like he needed a hug after reviewing the damage to his town and especially the destruction of the Lennox facility.

Ethics board gives Iowa officials green light to conceal side businesses

Apr 20, 2018

And boos to the ethics board

Megan Tooker never met a miscreant public servant who, by dint of stupidity or intent, ran afoul of the Iowa code in matters before her agency. Public officials, who apparently can’t understand plain English, get a pass while citizens, in whose name Tooker is supposed to be advocating, are ignored or worse.
As for Pate, perhaps he can put the green-light he got from Tooker, and his knowledge about the Secretary of State’s filing procedures, and open another new business — this time a consultancy to help other elected officials evade their reporting obligations. Ain’t capitalism grand?

Iowa candidates on notice: Signature requirements are real

Mar 29, 2018

Any damn fool on the ballot, but citizen's voting rights under siege

This is where your analysis goes wrong.
“In future election cycles, Iowans should not waste time challenging nominating papers on those grounds. The Iowa Code provisions on signature requirements are intended to force would-be office-holders to demonstrate some basic level of support for their candidacies, not to micromanage how signatures can be presented.”
Citizens should continue mounting nominating petition challenges — even on persnickety grounds — as long as elected officials continue their assault on voting rights. Furthermore, not so much to ask candidates for office to follow the letter of the law since they aspire to be in the business of writing future ones. Secretary Pate’s comments about the inability or unwillingness of his office to review the veracity of signatures is especially alarming in light of the demands that some elected officials and candidates propose for people exercising their voting franchise. So, a half-assed petition with just enough signatures (that may or may not be valid) is OK for the candidate, but to vote for him, you’d better bring a birth certificate and a DNA test result to the polling place?

Connie Schmett retained attorney who appears frequently before her board

Mar 12, 2018

The respondent decides when the ethics board's interest in a matter is closed?

The second paragraph of Becki Brommel’s Feb. 16th letter to her dear friend Megan Tooker at the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board says it all with regard to the usefulness of this agency and the competence of its director. Gee Becki, why not just send notice to dear Megan that, after further consideration, you decided the board’s proposed fine didn’t strike you as fair since the check was never cashed, and you’d just as soon close the matter without any action whatsoever.

Further, why the solicitous agreement with Doug Gross’ request that dear Megan not meet with the respondent after Bishop/Russell/Schmett had requested such a meeting, but before respondent had hired the Brown law firm? Why not instead advise Mr. Gross to show up at the appointed time and place and actually do some work?

Jonathan Narcisse, Remembered

Feb 26, 2018

RIP Robert V Morris

Very sad, the loss of two great leaders in the same week. It’s a travesty that so little was written about the passing of Robert Morris, who raised the nation’s awareness about the contribution of black soldiers and officers to the nation’s war efforts from the Revolutionary War on. And it’s an ignoble oversight on the part of the money machine that calls itself a newspaper around here to publish nary a word about the loss of one of its “most influential Iowans of the 21st century.”

Governor’s mid-year cuts hit human services, higher education, public safety

Jan 16, 2018

DHS budget cuts

A couple of interesting things regarding the Department of Human Services budget:

First, people changing to Fee for Service enrollment in the wake of AmeriHealth’s departure from the Medicaid market has doubled the original estimate. At the end of December, 20,000 more people are enrolled in Fee for Service compared to November. Published estimates indicated 10,000 people would move to Fee for Service when AmeriHealth left and Amerigroup said it couldn’t accommodate any new enrollees. If the state can’t manage Medicaid growth (the reason for privatizing the program) doesn’t that mean the budget is in trouble with all these new enrollees?

In a related matter, it turns out not only was Amerigroup not able to handle any of AmeriHealth’s enrollment when that firm left the Medicaid market, the company apparently can’t handle the membership it already had. The carrier reported nearly 5,000 fewer enrollees at year-end as it had at the end of November.

Lastly, deep in the bowels of the Department of Administrative Services website are several actuarial studies done in anticipation of bidding for a third managed care company that says the state intends to move 831 Medicaid enrollees from institutionalized settings to community based care settings during the current fiscal year. This is supposed to save about $40 million. Most of these members are elderly, but there are some with physical and intellectual disabilities and children with mental health issues.

If the shift in care results in better lives for these Iowans, and the savings net out somewhere near the estimate, then managed care proponents can claim a big win. But if these 821 people don’t thrive, or don’t even manage to maintain their current well being, then Iowans should hang their heads in shame for failing to look out for the least among us.

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