State auditor to Iowa Medicaid recipients, providers: "Know your rights"

Iowans affected by UnitedHealthcare’s impending exit as a Medicaid managed-care provider should be aware that they have rights under the contract the state signed with the insurer, State Auditor Rob Sand announced at an April 1 news conference.

Sand reviewed the company’s 287-page contract with the Iowa Department of Human Services before news broke on March 29 that UnitedHealthcare will not continue to manage care for Iowans on Medicaid in the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1. That development suddenly made the contract’s termination provisions “very important and relevant.”

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Laughable spin casts Reynolds as hero of latest Medicaid fiasco

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.

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Payout for sexual harassment leaves oversight failures unexplored

A divided state board has approved settlements worth a combined $4.15 million to two women who reported extensive, appalling sexual misconduct by former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison. Under the agreements posted in full below, $2.35 million will go to the agency’s former business development director Beth Mahaffey, and $1.8 million will go to the agency’s communications director Ashley Jared. Attorney’s fees for both women will come out of those payments.

The settlements bring closure to women who endured a horrific workplace environment. But they also ensure that oversight failures at the finance authority will never be fully explored in litigation.

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Key GOP lawmaker not interested in limiting state auditor's subpoena power

Republicans in Wisconsin and Michigan responded to recent election losses by limiting the powers of some Democratic statewide officials. GOP lawmakers are rumored to be considering similar legislation in Iowa, where Rob Sand just took office as the first Democrat to serve as state auditor in more than 50 years.

But Republican State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, who chairs the Iowa House State Government Committee, told Bleeding Heartland he has no interest in revoking or curtailing the subpoena power of Sand’s office.

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