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SENATE RELEASES MEDICAID MANAGED CARE BILLS

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The Iowa Senate released two bills this week to tackle concerns they heard from Iowans about the transition to Medicaid managed care. 

One in five Iowans depends on Medicaid for vital health care services, including the elderly, people with disabilities and mental health concerns, children and moms. - See more at: http://www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats/iowans-nervous-about-medicaid-privatization/#sthash.PycxHUJD.dpuf
One in five Iowans depends on Medicaid for vital health care services, including the elderly, people with disabilities and mental health concerns, children and moms. - See more at: http://www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats/iowans-nervous-about-medicaid-privatization/#sthash.PycxHUJD.dpuf

The first bill is Senate Study Bill 3081, and it stops the move to Medicaid managed care. Contracts with all three managed care organizations (MCOs) would end immediately.  Iowa Medicaid is asked to take back management of the system, and focus on developing patient-centered care.  The issues that will make this difficult - the state has lost its mental health managed care contractor (Magellan), has ended its contract with Wellmark to manage the children's health insurance progam (hawk-i), and has ended contrats with the companies that have helped run Medicaid for decades. So - does the state have the capacity now to take back the management of the system? And if so, does it have the money to do it? 

The second bill (Senate File 2107) assumes managed care is here to stay and instead focuses on making sure there is proper oversight of the new system, adequate opportunities for meaningful stakeholder involvement, good data collection to make sure that the state is getting the results it expects, and requires contract changes to make sure providers and members are treated fairly, get information they need to make good decisions, have protected rates, and are not subjected to unnecessary red tape.  Now whether the bill achieves that or simply micromanages the system to the point of breaking is something that will be debated. 

On Monday (February 8) the Senate Human Resources Committee will host two meetings to discuss the first option (stopping managed care).  First the three-person subcommittee will meet to discuss, and then the full Senate Human Resources Committee will debate and vote on the bill.  Both meetings will be live-streamed so you can watch them from your tablet, smartphone, or computer. 

Subcommittee members are President of the Senate Pam Jochum, Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm, and Sen. David Johnson.  You can see who is on the full committee here.  Meetings on the second bill will be announced later in the week, so watch our breaking news section of the website, or follow us on Facebook.