Governor Reynolds’ Medicaid privatization crisis deepened in the last few weeks as more revelations emerged of her failed for-profit healthcare program. A July 6th article in the Des Moines Register exposed Medicaid private managers’ repeated attempts to deny care to Jamie Campbell, a paralyzed Iowan from Fontanelle. Gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell reacted immediately to this Iowan’s continued suffering while Reynolds stubbornly refuses to accept responsibility.
“We cannot stand for this. On Day One as governor, I will work to bring Medicaid back under state control, for Mr. Campbell and the thousands of Iowans like him that are trapped in an endless cycle of appeals for care they desperately need,” said Hubbell.
Meanwhile, Reynolds still claims her for-profit Medicaid program is working. In an interview last month on Iowa Public Radio, she cavalierly dismissed the numerous reports of patients losing care.
“I can say to them this is patient-focused, proactive. We want to make sure that we’re getting the outcomes that we, that they deserve and that we have a system that’s sustainable,” said Reynolds.
In the case of Iowan Jamie Campbell, who has twice been denied adequate in-home care service, Reynolds’ claims ring hollow. Is Reynolds so isolated from reality to ignore the hundreds of Iowans like Campbell that have been denied adequate care? In Campbell’s case, he appealed his first denial of care last summer and the administrative law judge sided with Campbell and ruled his care should be reinstated.
But like many other Iowans, Campbell is again fighting with his Medicaid provider as they cut his care a second time. The state long term care Ombudsman reports there are over 200 elderly and sick Iowans trapped in a Medicaid maze of appeals. It’s clear Reynolds isn’t going to take any responsibility to correct this healthcare disaster she and former Governor Branstad created. It will require new leadership and Fred Hubbell is committed to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable Iowans.
Reynolds is running for reelection claiming her humble small town beginnings give her a special insight into the needs of Iowans. She’s right that small town Iowa values often result in neighbors helping the less fortunate. However, while she talks about small town values, she sides with huge out-of-state, for-profit insurance companies rather than with helpless Iowans in need.
Her Medicaid mess isn’t going to get any better based on the latest company Reynolds’ Department of Human Services just hired. Centene is the new replacement for Amerihealth Caritas that pulled out of Iowa saying they were losing money. Centene was rejected in an earlier round of awarding contracts for Medicaid in 2015. Now they appear to be a choice of last resort even though they have paid $23.6 million in penalties in a dozen other states.
Iowa needs a governor that can extract our state from this ongoing nightmare of rising costs, inadequate care and manipulation by for-profit companies. Fred Hubbell’s management experience is exactly the qualification Iowans need in their governor. His vision of getting Iowa growing by putting people first is the perfect prescription to solve Reynolds’ Medicaid privatization catastrophe.
by Rick Smith