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The Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee met last week to allow all members to express their priorities for the budget.  Throughout the session, legislators on this subcommittee heard testimony from various groups on programs and services funded in this budget area.  But this was the first time lawmakers told each other which things they felt should be priorities in funding.  Here is a very quick review of what each legislator said was their priority:

  • Rep. Robert Bacon - Broadlawns funding to establish psychiatrist internship program.
  • Rep. Mark Costello - Fatherhood initiative program funded through the YMCA.
  • Rep. Dean FIsher - Girls state training school (Toledo or elsewhere), child abuse prevention, child care funding.
  • Rep. John Forbes - Fatherhood initiative, poison control center, MH/DS redesign, tobacco prevention.
  • Rep. Dave Heaton - Brain Injury Waiver expansion (lots of people on the waiting list).
  • Rep. Lisa Heddens - MH/DS redesign and Medicaid offset (clawback) to give counties/regions stability.
  • Rep. Linda Miller - Make sure we provide enough resources to meet MH/DS redesign goals, group foster care rates.
  • Rep. Sally Stutsman - Child care, provider rates, girls training school/Toledo, hospital rebasing (rate increase).
  • Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell - Tobacco cessation, increase FIP (Family Investment Program) for families that are struggling.

  • Sen. Joe Bolkcom - Expand access to child care to help make families more successful.
  • Sen. Jack Hatch - Redesign state's child welfare system.
  • Sen. David Johnson - Support our private provider network.
  • Sen. Amanda Ragan - Child care expansion.
  • Sen. Mark Segebart - Core services and additional state dollars for MH/DS funding, work services, children's disability waiver, poison control center, funding for children & family services, Iowa Workforce Center in Iowa Department of Public Health.

The Health and Human Services Budget will begin in the House, with Rep. Dave Heaton being the point person on that budget. This budget subcommittee was given one of the most challenging tasks of all budgets.  The Governor's budget underfunded Medicaid by about $41 million, and was $11 million under the lowest estimate of need.  The joint target is nearly $1 million below the Governor's budget.  That means this budget subcommittee must cut $12 million in funding and shift those funds over to Medicaid before passing their budget.  As you can see, these legislators have a very big task ahead.

You can see the Governor's budget recommendations here.  Check back - we'll post updates on this budget on our Facebook page and on our website as we learn more.

Now is the time to let your legislators know about your budget priorities.  Just remember that your legislators have to balance their budgets, and they know that the need is far greater than the money available.  So please make sure to stay positive, and just explain why your priorities are important!  You can contact your legislators using our Grassroots Action Center, by visiting with them at a public forum, or by contacting them directly. You can also call them during the week at 515/281-3221 (House) or 515/281-3371 (Senate).