# Iowa Health Care Association

How one industry's political investments paid off

When Governor Chet Culver took final action on the last two dozen bills from the 2009 legislative session, my biggest disappointment was his decision to sign Senate File 433, a bill that “eliminates a broad range of fines against Iowa nursing homes that fail to meet minimum health and safety standards.”

Governors rarely veto bills that pass out of the state legislature unanimously, as this one did. However, when Culver didn’t sign Senate File 433 right away, I hoped he was seriously considering the advice of the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. Both of those state agencies opposed the bill.

Instead of listening to the public officials who have the most in-depth knowledge of nursing home regulations and violations, Culver sided with a corporate interest group:

Former state legislator John Tapscott, who now advocates for Iowa seniors, said the new law is an example of what the nursing home industry can buy with its campaign contributions.

“It only proves that our legislative leaders and governor are willing to sell out the most vulnerable of our citizens – the sick and elderly residing in nursing homes – for a few thousand campaign dollars,” he said.

Click “there’s more” to read about the substance of this bill and the winning strategy of the Iowa Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes. I couldn’t have written this post without an outstanding series of reports by Clark Kauffman of the Des Moines Register last November (see also here and here).

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