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House Holds Public Hearing on Medicaid Expansion

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Less than half of the people that signed up to speak at a public hearing on Medicaid expansion Tuesday night (April 16) were able to make their points before time was up.  House leaders set aside only 90 minutes to hear from Iowans - but there just wasn't enough time for the 72 people that signed up.  Of those signed up to speak, 75% were in favor of expanding Medicaid and taking the federal government up on their offer to pay 100% of the costs for three years (reducing that match gradually until it ends at 90% federal funding in 2020).  Those that were opposed said they didn't trust the federal government to put the money up as they face trillion dollar deficits, didn't think government should be paying for health care unless people take some personal responsibility (like making copayments), and didn't think Medicaid was very good at making Iowans healthier.

Those supporting expansion say it is the easiest way to make low-income Iowans (those earning up to $12,000/year) healthier without making them choose between rent, food, gas, and health insurance.  Others say Medicaid could be made better using incentives that are proven to help make people healthier (like Health Savings Accounts).  In the 90-minute hearing, only 15 opponents and 17 supporters were allowed to speak.  You can watch some of the testimony here.

The five-member subcommittee working on Senate File 296 (Medicaid Expansion) and House Study Bill 232 (Healthy Iowa Plan alternative) met twice last week and had very good debates, but came no closer to an agreement on where they will start.  Leaders say they'll try to get it into conference committee soon, so differences can be hammered out.  Many say they don't see this issue being resolved by the end of June, and that it may require a special session.

If you have an opinion about Medicaid expansion or the Governor's Healthy Iowa Plan, contact your legislators, and one of the subcommittee members:

Rep. Walt Rogers of Waterloo (Chair)
Rep. Chuck Soderberg of LeMars
Rep. Dave Heaton of Mt. Pleasant
Rep. Lisa Heddens of Ames
Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic of Waterloo

Rep. Linda Miller of Bettendorf has also been regularly attending and participating in the discussions.  You can contact any legisaltor and the Governor using our Grassroots Advocacy Center.