Governor Terry Branstad worked to privatize the state's Medicaid program in 2015, making the argument that it would reduce costs for the State and improve coverage for all Medicaid recipients. In practice however, this does not seem to be the true effect of the privatization of the Medicaid program.
The estimates for costs of the program continue to appear to be in favor of receipients, but apparently the real numbers will not take effect and be obvious to the public until next year. One issue is that the private companies that were hired to manage the program have accrued substantial losses (millions of dollars), and the state has agreed to repay at least part of these losses in 2018 (some reports say up to $235 million). Rates paid to the private companies are also set to rise in July of this year and this will raise long-term costs as well.
People with severe disabilities are experiencing terrible set backs, with in-home care being cut significantly and the companies that manage the Medicaid benefits failing to pay medical care for patients for months at a time. Even transportation for disabled patients has become more complicated to obtain or unavailable altogether under the new private program. The Republican administration that put this program in place continues to tell Iowans that the privatization is going to help them, but unless the trajectory of these programs drastically changes, this does not appear to be the truth.
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