When a government press release arrives at 4:45 pm on a Friday, you know it’s not bearing good news. UnitedHealthcare will soon pull out of Iowa’s Medicaid program, the governor’s office announced on March 29. The company “manages health care for more than two-thirds of Iowans on Medicaid,” at least 425,000 people, Tony Leys reported for the Des Moines Register.
The official spin portrayed Governor Kim Reynolds as a hero who resisted a for-profit insurer’s “unreasonable” and “unacceptable” demands.
The real story is that nearly three years into our costly Medicaid privatization experiment, Iowa’s dominant managed-care organization (MCO) still can’t handle normal business practices like paying health care providers on time.