Iowa DHS won't vouch for accuracy of Medicaid data

The Iowa Department of Human Services “cannot ensure the accuracy, completeness, or reliability” of data released to the public about any programs administered by Iowa Medicaid Enterprise, including the managed-care system for some 600,000 Iowans on Medicaid.

When responding to all requests for information about Medicaid or related programs, the DHS also warns users that “there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the data provided.” Leading Iowa Senate Democrats were unaware of the disclaimer, which they described as “odd,” “troubling,” and “unacceptable.”

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John Norris for governor

I’ve been undecided on the governor’s race for the better part of a year. The six remaining Democrats–Nate Boulton, Cathy Glasson, Fred Hubbell, Andy McGuire, John Norris, and Ross Wilburn–agree on many core issues. All would invest more in education and other public services, reverse Medicaid privatization, restore collective bargaining rights, and stand up for reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality. All bring important life experiences to the table, as you can see from stump speeches Bleeding Heartland posted here, here, and here. Not only would I happily vote for any of them in November, I would knock doors for any of them this fall.

I didn’t expect to commit to a candidate for governor until shortly before the June 5 primary. But as a Polk County convention delegate, part of my job today will be electing district and state delegates. If no gubernatorial candidate receives at least 35 percent of the vote in the primary, a state convention will select our nominee.

Here’s why I believe John Norris should be that candidate.

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IA-Gov: Jon Neiderbach ends campaign, endorses John Norris

Jon Neiderbach will not file nominating papers for governor and will support John Norris in the Democratic primary, he told Bleeding Heartland by telephone this morning. On Monday, following a long drive back from an event in Jackson County over the weekend, Neiderbach determined he was unlikely to break through in a field with “lots of good candidates.” (He raised far less money in 2017 than did five other Democratic contenders.)

Asked whether he planned to endorse before the June 5 primary, Neiderbach said,

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Read more messages Fred Hubbell is testing with Iowa Democrats

Are Iowa Democrats more impressed by Fred Hubbell’s work in business and government, or by his long history as a donor and community leader? How bothered are they by criticism of Hubbell’s stances on labor issues, or by hearing that he is a wealthy former corporate executive? Are they reassured after learning more about his beliefs, philanthropy, treatment of employees, or commitment to creating jobs in Iowa?

Whereas the Hubbell campaign’s first message-testing poll last August focused on voters’ priorities and reasons to support the candidate, a lengthy survey in the field this week explores potentially damaging cases against the candidate as well as points in his favor.

A Bleeding Heartland reader recorded the nearly 20-minute call and shared the sound file. Follow me after the jump for the full questionnaire, which did not include any positive or negative statements about other candidates for governor.

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IA-Gov: Kim Reynolds below 45 percent against every Democrat

Governor Kim Reynolds leads five Democratic challengers but gains less than 45 percent support in every head to head matchup, according to the latest statewide poll by Selzer & Co. for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. Reynolds leads State Senator Nate Boulton by 41 percent to 37 percent, with 11 percent of respondents unsure and the rest saying they would not vote or would support some other candidate. She leads Fred Hubbell by 42 percent to 37 percent, John Norris by 41 percent to 30 percent, Andy McGuire by 42 percent to 30 percent, and Cathy Glasson by 44 percent to 31 percent.

I would have expected larger leads for Reynolds, since she has much higher name recognition than the Democratic candidates, and she receives substantial news coverage for free. The governor is in positive territory on job performance (47 percent of respondents approve of her work, 33 percent disapprove, 20 percent unsure) and favorability (48 percent vies her favorably, 32 percent unfavorably, and 20 percent unsure). In addition, the Selzer poll found 49 percent of Iowans see the state moving in the right direction, just 39 percent on the wrong track. Those are decent numbers for an incumbent.

Another plus for Reynolds: she had $4.14 million in her campaign’s bank account at the end of 2017, and she’s hasn’t spent much of it so far. While Hubbell, Boulton, and Glasson have been running television commercials in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets, Reynolds and acting Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg have been touring the state, earning local media coverage while holding campaign-style events to tout their administration’s accomplishments. That “Unleashing Opportunity” tour–all billed to the state as part of the governor’s “official” duties–has stopped in Mason City, Marion, Muscatine, Davenport, Maquoketa, Ames, Fort Dodge, Storm Lake, Pella, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Newton, and Cedar Falls. None of those visits cost the Reynolds/Gregg campaign a dime.

Selzer surveyed 801 Iowa adults between January 28 and 31, producing a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The respondents were not necessarily registered voters, let alone likely midterm election voters. So this representative sample of Iowa adults may or may not reflect the universe of Iowans who will cast ballots in November. CORRECTION: The gubernatorial race numbers were drawn from “the subset of 555 respondents who say they’re likely to vote in 2018. Those numbers have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points,” Jason Noble reported. Figuring out who will vote is one of the biggest challenges for any pollster. Self-reported intentions are a common screen, but not always an accurate one.

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Bad weather, good turnout for 2018 Iowa Democratic caucuses

The worst-case scenario came to pass today: after months of below-average snowfall, a huge winter storm hit most of the state hours before the 2018 caucuses. According to anecdotal reports and a statement from the Iowa Democratic Party, turnout on the Democratic side far surpassed the level seen in 2010 or 2014. John Deeth estimated that Johnson County Democrats “at least doubled our previous governor year caucus turnout record.” But poor road conditions surely kept thousands of politically-engaged people home tonight. I had hoped good weather would reveal how many activists were “fired up and ready to go.” UPDATE: Added below a “soft report” from the state party: with 80 percent of precincts reporting, attendance was 8,599. “While we are still getting results in, we expect turnout will exceed 9,000, which far eclipses the 5,000 attendees in 2010 and the 6500 attendees in 2014.”

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