Iowa DHS withheld records on "fishy" Medicaid deal before election

For weeks this fall, the Iowa Department of Human Services stonewalled a journalist’s request for easily accessible public records that would have cast an unflattering light on management of the state’s Medicaid program.

Three days after Governor Kim Reynolds won the election, the department sent a copy of one key document to Ryan Foley of the Associated Press. DHS released other relevant files on December 6, allowing Foley to confirm Director Jerry Foxhoven had cut a deal in April allowing UnityPoint Health affiliates to keep nearly $2.4 million they had been overpaid for services provided to Medicaid patients.

The settlement agreement came shortly after UnityPoint agreed to remain part of the network for Amerigroup, one of the private companies DHS picked to manage care for Medicaid recipients.

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Iowa media shrug as Farm Bureau deploys corporate cash for Mike Naig

Iowa law prohibits corporate campaign contributions, so it seems like big news for a business lobby group to seek a “one-time investment of corporate funds” on behalf of a statewide candidate whose election “could return dividends for a decade or more to come.”

Yet media gatekeepers have mostly decided the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s plan to elect Republican Mike Naig as secretary of agriculture isn’t newsworthy.

While most print and broadcast outlets ignore the story, pro-Naig advertising that strongly resembles the Republican’s campaign messaging has reached hundreds of thousands of voters.

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IA-01: Under growing pressure, Rod Blum channels Donald Trump

As signs mount that national GOP strategists are ready to let his district go, two-term Representative Rod Blum seems to be staking his political career on appealing to fans of President Donald Trump.

While some vulnerable Republicans keep their distance from an unpopular president, Blum welcomed Trump to Iowa’s first Congressional district in July and continues to praise trade policies that hurt the farm economy. More recently, he has sought attention by portraying himself as the news media’s victim.

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Latest Des Moines Register casualty: prep football fans

Ira Lacher shares his perspective on an unpleasant surprise waiting for many Des Moines Register readers on Saturday, August 25. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I was assistant sports editor of the Des Moines Register for four and a half years in the mid-1980s. As my soon-to-be bosses, sports editor Mike Wegner and managing editor Arnie Garson, explained to me during my application interview, if there was one thing that distinguished the Register as “The Newspaper Iowans Depend Upon,” it was our unparalleled coverage of Iowa high school sports.

The second-most important night of the week, besides Saturday night, when we produced The Big Peach sports section, was Friday night during high school football season. We labored mightily to get the scores and stories in from all around Iowa, beginning first with the out-state editions, and ending with the Golden Circle and Des Moines metro results.

So, imagine my shock when I saw the blurb in last Saturday’s paper saying that if you wanted to read about high school football coverage in print, wait for Sunday’s paper!

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