Our View: Medicaid Expansion Showdown Looms

This post appeared March 1, 2013 in the A Better Iowa blog http://abetteriowa.desmoinesregister.com/2013/03/01/espey-medicaid-expansion-showdown-looms/

Espey: Medicaid expansion showdown looms

The Senate Human Resources committee voted this week to pass Senate File 71 out of committee and on to the full Senate, setting the stage for a showdown with Governor Terry Branstad over Medicaid expansion and how to make Iowa the “healthiest state” in the nation.

Make no mistake – these are two very different visions, with much at stake, for everyday Iowans.

On one side, you have the Governor’s vision. His centers around extending the flawed program IowaCare that offers limited coverage, with limited services, for a limited number of people. He will make this IowaCare “new and improved” by requiring co-pays and deductibles and a focus on “personal responsibility”.

On the other side is Senate File 71 which would expand Medicaid to cover roughly 150,000 Iowans allowing for doctor choice, prescription and mental health coverage, and a focus on outcomes. And, should the state expand Medicaid the federal government will cover a vast majority of the costs indefinitely.

The choice really couldn’t be clearer. Expanding Medicaid covers more people, gives them more options, and has the potential to save the state money even in the long term.

It’s time for Governor Branstad to come down off his ideological high horse, work with leaders in the House and Senate, and move to expand Medicaid today. It’s good fiscal policy, good public policy, and simply the right thing to do.


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