rhonda_shouse@yahoo.com

Iowa Medicaid Transition Not Smooth

Rhonda Shouse, a Medicaid recipient and member of Iowa’s Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council, is a leading advocate for Iowans affected by Medicaid privatization. She is an admin for the MCO Watchdog Facebook group and has previously shared resources to help people report problems with managed-care providers. The Cedar Rapids Gazette published a shorter version of this commentary last week. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Iowa Medicaid Enterprises (IME) Director Mikki Stier wrote a guest column on Iowa’s Medicaid Modernization which appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Fort Dodge Messenger, and Sioux City Journal in April. I am writing in response to Ms. Stier’s column.

If IME considers making it more difficult for Medicaid beneficiaries to get much needed items such as catheters, diapers, medication, transportation to medical appointments, and permission for guardians to represent their wards, then Iowa’s Medicaid Modernization is a huge success. These were not obstacles under the old Medicaid system.

In IA Health Link’s first month, the bulk of the problems point directly to the Department of Human Resources and IME to adequately provide the MCOs with accurate information. It is likely due to the unrealistic time frame established by Governor Terry Branstad, or DHS, depending on who tells the story of who came up with the idea for Iowa’s Medicaid Managed Care program. Most states that have moved to a managed care approach have moved only portions of their beneficiaries at a time and done so over a two to five year period.

It is very unfortunate that Governor Branstad, DHS, and IME have been perpetrating a public relations campaign for more than a year now to misinform Iowans on how their tax dollars will be spent, who Medicaid beneficiaries are, and how services will be delivered to approximately half a million Iowa residents. Healthcare should not be a partisan political issue.

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