August 18th, 2017 Posted In: News

 Today, the Des Moines Reigster called Governor Reynolds out for her misleading rhetoric about the privatization of Medicaid in Iowa.

“After handing over management of the $4 billion Medicaid program to three for-profit companies last year, Iowans have filed hundreds of complaints, including many about losing access to care. Health providers have closed their doors. Iowans with disabilities have filed a federal lawsuit against Reynolds, accusing the state of depriving thousands the right to live safely outside institutions.

Yet the new governor continues to insist privatization is a great thing.

Several months ago she was quoted in a news release as saying Iowans with “high risk behavioral health conditions” were faring better under privatized Medicaid.

Soon after, the Register editorial board reported the private insurers owed Southwest Iowa Mental Health System about $300,000 for services provided. We recently reported on a private insurer refusing to cover care for a mentally ill teen. This week Des Moines psychiatrist Jim Gallagher told an editorial writer that the private insurers were reducing payments to workers who supervise individuals in group homes, including a man with a history of pedophilia. 

Yet Reynolds does not acknowledge such problems. Worse, she pretends there are none. An August 3 press release from her office referenced a questionable survey indicating Iowa patients’ satisfaction was among the highest in the nation.”

“The Register frequently hears from Iowans who have lost health care, closed medical services businesses or are owed money by the insurers. And now we have heard from the widow of a man who died after the insurer refused to pay his caregivers.

Reynolds should rethink her press releases on this issue. They do not reflect the reality of what is going on in this state. The current governor has no obligation to continue defending a disaster set in motion by her predecessor.

She does, however, have an obligation to be honest with the nearly 600,000 Iowans who rely on Medicaid, the thousands of health providers who serve them and the taxpayers funding the program. Unfortunately, such honesty is painfully absent. “

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