BRANSTAD’S ‘healthiest state’ pledge fails AS he leaves out medicaid, mental health and health CARE reform PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jack Hatch   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 15:39

Senate Democrat says Governor Branstad’s failure to lead in this legislative session will “allow our state to fail right before our eyes.”

DES MOINES – Saying he is “gravely disappointed with the lack of leadership demonstrated by the Governor today,” State Sen. Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) suggested Governor Terry Branstad failed to set out any agenda on some of the most important challenges facing Iowa in his Condition of the State Address.

“There are obviously areas of agreement with items in the speech,” Hatch said. “But the areas in which we still need to find common ground are critically important, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on.”

Hatch saved his most specific criticism of the Governor for the topic of health care, which has been Hatch’s area of focus and is expected to result in a number of significant bills in the 2013 legislative session. “The absence of a clearly articulated way forward on health care as we undertake the hard work in health care is just astonishing,” Hatch said Tuesday.  “It’s hard to believe the Governor is dodging health care at this important moment, as we work to implement the nation’s new health care law.”

“We have been working on an Iowa model for health care reform for six years, and at points Governor Branstad has been an ally,” Hatch said.  “He knows better than to say all we can do is recruit physicians and make it harder for consumers to recover medical damages following malpractice.”

Hatch said he will be going forward with three major health care priorities related to the ACA this session and expects to introduce bills on each topic:

 

  • Expanded Medicaid – Hatch said nearly 150,000 Iowans not now covered by health insurance could be covered by the current offer of 100 percent federal funding over the next few years, with very reasonable long-term costs to the state to follow.
  • Health Insurance Exchange - Hatch said he believes Iowa needs to design its own exchange that will serve the needs of a small-state, rural population with a history of health care advocacy on health issues like diabetes, epilepsy, autism and long-term care.  Hatch says Iowa must act this session to have an exchange in place by 2015.
  • Mental Health Funding – Hatch says Iowa must “keep the commitment we made in 2012 to affected families and to local governments” on mental health. He said last year’s law reorganized the system into one that features local delivery of services, regionally administered.  “If we fail to fund this new system, it will suffer the same fate as the last redesign 16 years ago,” Hatch said. “That would be wrong.”

 

Hatch said other areas in which Senate Democrats will work to find common ground with the Governor during the 2013 session include tax relief for Iowa families and education reform. 

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