Governor's health policy adviser claims ignorance about Medicaid problems

Service cuts to Iowans with disabilities under privatized Medicaid prompted a 2017 lawsuit, became a central theme of the 2018 governor’s race, and were a featured problem in an annual report from the state ombudsman.

Yet in a meeting with advocates last week, Governor Kim Reynolds’ health policy adviser said she is unaware of major problems for patients trying to obtain essential services.

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At what cost?

This commentary was a group effort by Upgrade Medicaid organizers Jenn Wolff, Shelley Jaspering, Kyle Spading, Elaine Gartelos, Tucker Cassidy, and Evan Schultz. -promoted by Laura Belin

Thousands of disabled Iowans rely on Long Term Support Services through Medicaid. Those services were designed to provide daily living assistance for individuals to maintain normal lives in their homes.

Because of Medicaid privatization, some individuals have been forced to consider nursing home placement, which is typically more expensive than community living.

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As labor unions decline, income inequality grows

Labor Day should be about celebrating the many successes of the labor movement. The Economic Policy Institute has found, “On average, a worker covered by a union contract earns 13.2 percent more in wages than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector.20 This pay boost was even greater in earlier decades when more American workers were unionized.”

The percentage of U.S. workers represented by a labor union is lower now than at any point since World War II. That trend is among the factors contributing to income inequality not seen in this country since the 1920s.

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Where things stand in Iowa's Senate, Congressional races

Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the most intense phase of campaigning in election years. This holiday is also a good time to review the state of play in races for federal offices in odd-numbered years. Though new candidates could emerge at any time before Iowa’s March 2020 filing deadline–Patty Judge was a late arrival to the Democratic U.S. Senate field in 2016–it’s more typical for federal candidates here to kick off their campaigns by the end of summer the year before the election.

Thanks to Iowa’s non-partisan redistricting system, all four U.S. House races here could be competitive in 2020, and our Senate race is on the map–in contrast to 2016, when Senator Chuck Grassley’s re-election was almost a foregone conclusion.

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Read Jerry Foxhoven's wrongful termination claim

Former Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven has filed claims of “wrongful discharge in violation of public policy” against the state of Iowa as well as against Governor Kim Reynolds, the governor’s chief of staff Sara Craig Gongol, and the governor’s senior legal counsel Sam Langholz. I enclose below the documents Foxhoven’s attorney Thomas Duff submitted to the State Appeal Board on August 29. They are consistent with Foxhoven’s earlier remarks to the media about events preceding his resignation in June.

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Governor's "weekly" press conferences less frequent, less accessible

Governor Kim Reynolds promised during last year’s campaign to resume weekly press conferences if elected. But 34 weeks into 2019, the governor has held only fourteen press conferences this year.

In addition, the governor’s office has not posted video of Reynolds answering questions from journalists on any publicly accessible platform since December. That’s a departure from past practice.

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