We need Medicaid expansion in Iowa

Espey: We need Medicaid expansion in Iowa


Medicaid expansion took a step forward earlier this week when a Senate subcommittee met to discuss how the expansion would not only benefit the state but also, and more importantly, the tens of thousands of Iowans currently without coverage or adequate coverage.

Expansion would cover Iowans up to 138% of the federal poverty level, including many low-income individuals not currently eligible – or roughly 150,000 Iowans. And, the federal government would pick-up the entire cost of expansion for the first three years, and up to 90% in later years.

We’ve heard from dozens of folks telling us how they or their family would benefit from Medicaid expansion. What this showed us, without a doubt, is that expanding Medicaid isn’t just good public policy, it’s the right thing to do.

It’s the right thing to do for people like Lou Ann, whose daughter was kicked off Medicaid when she turned 21 and placed instead on IowaCare.

Lou Ann’s daughter is currently unemployed and struggles with anxiety and mental illness. Under Medicaid, she had flexibility in providers and could see counselors who knew her situation and could best address the struggles she faced. Under IowaCare, she now faces long waits, uncertainty in physicians she is able to see and stress finding transportation to the only hospital in town that takes IowaCare patients.

It’s the right thing to do for people like Holly, who makes just enough at her job to not qualify for traditional Medicaid, but doesn’t have health insurance and doesn’t know how she’ll afford coverage on her current income.

Or Molly, who can’t see the same physician as her two children because, while they are on Medicaid, she only qualifies for IowaCare.

There are many more everyday Iowans – like Lou Ann’s daughter and like Holly and Molly – who are counting on our governor and legislature to do the right thing and give them a fair shot at health insurance coverage and a better quality of life. As Lou Ann said at this week’s statehouse meeting, “Who among us does not have a heart enough to feel, or eyes wide enough to see that there are people in our state who are hurting, who are ill, and who are falling through the cracks?



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