Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

November 1, 2018 Reynolds addresses Medicaid controversy
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Perhaps the biggest issue in this year’s gubernatorial campaign is Medicaid privatization and the issues it has created since former Gov. Terry Branstad rolled out the plan two years ago.

Following the Oct. 25 campaign rally in Washington, Gov. Kim Reynolds addressed the Medicaid issue in a one-on-one interview with The News.

“I’m saying that we can’t go back, and that’s obvious,” Reynolds said. “We made the transition two years ago because it wasn’t sustainable. We did what 39 other states have done. That number will continue to grow, because they know the old way was not sustainable.”

Reynolds acknowledged that there were issues with the switch to privatized managed care in the Medicaid program.

“When I was getting ready to be sworn in as governor and I was traveling the state, it became very clear that mistakes had been made, and it hadn’t been rolled out properly,” she said. “Like any new big initiative like that, that’s not unusual.”

She added that measures have been taken to stabilize the issues.

“We brought in new leadership, and we brought in a new actuary,” Reynolds said. “We started the system based on assumptions, but now we have two years of experience, so we’re fixing it based on experience, so we know what the cost is to provide services to Iowans. We were able to include mental health reform in the contract negotiations – the rates that we certified from the independent actuary.”

One of the biggest issues has been that providers have not been getting paid, which Reynolds called “unacceptable.”

“As I traveled across the state, doctors, physicians, people that were providing services to Iowans were not getting paid in a timely manner,” she said. “We put financial penalties in the contract that we just negotiated. If they don’t pay the claims in a reasonable amount of time, then there will be penalties.”

Reynolds added that the legislature passed additional oversight measures during the last session.

“I’ve talked with providers, and they are getting reimbursed, and they see a notable difference already,” Reynolds said.

She also acknowledged that there are about 40,000 Medicaid recipients who need long term care and more needs to be done to manage their care.

“What’s lost in all of this is that there’s 680,000 people in Medicaid,” Reynolds said. “Fred (Hubbell, Democratic challenger) keeps talking about 40,000 individuals in a certain population, and we need to do things better there. But a majority of the individuals that are in the system are very happy with it.”

She said that the state will continue to work to improve the system.

“There will continue to be things that pop up, and that’s normal,” she said. “We are going to continue to work with all the stakeholders to be sure we can provide to Iowans the right service at the right time at the right place to get the outcomes that we’re looking for. We’re willing to take a look at anything. We have to take a look at all of it to make sure we’re providing the services they need.”

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