The Governor signed HF 516 (Voter ID) into law, making Iowa the 33rd state to require some form of identification when voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Seven states now require a photo ID in order to vote - a number that has doubled in the last five years. Iowa's proposed law does not require a photo ID, and those without one will get a free voter card from the Secretary of State or their county auditor. Click here to read more.
HEALTH CARE REFORM
Republicans in control of Congress and the White House vowed to "repeal and replace Obamacare." Since the election, there have been a number of proposals and discussions around "block granting" Medicaid funding to states. This is a huge shift in public policy, and Iowans with disabilities should start getting ready to talk about what they like and dislike about the current system - so that the new system can be designed to address them. We will start collecting information on this here - so come back frequently.
NOTE: We are not endorsing the strategies in these articles; we simply would like you to see resources your lawmakers are probably looking at when thinking about heatlh reforms.
On April 1, 2016, Iowa moved almost all of its Medicaid program to managed care - contracting with three private companies (Amerigroup, AmeriHealth Caritas, United) to manage the health and long-term care services provided to more than 550,000 low-income Iowans, older Iowans, and Iowans with disabilities. It's been a rocky transition, and one MCO (AmeriHealth Caritas) has already ended their contract with the state, effective December 1, 2017. Another, Amerigroup, has said they are not able to take on more clients at this time in order to make sure services to their existing clients remain stable. The last MCO, United Health, announced it would be eventually ending the Integrated Health Home program for individuals who are not on habilitation or the children's mental health waiver (althought the implementation of this was pushed back to Feb. 1, instead of December 1). The Legislative Health Policy Oversight Committee was created and has been meeting to make sure issues related to managed care are addressed quickly.
Iowa HealthLink (Medicaid Managed Care)
Resources on Managed Care
REGIONAL MENTAL HEALTH/DISABILITY SERVICES
ID Action and the Iowa DD Council created several tools to help Iowans affected by disability better understand the impacts of the 2012 Mental Health and Disability Services Redesign on their services and supports and access. While the system has been redesigned, there continue to be signifcant challenges, including long-term funding stability. This year legislation will be introduced to allow local boards of supervisors the authority to set property taxes at the level they will need to be - so some counties can decrease their levies, and others (about eight) can raise them. Other legislation will be introduced to raise the state's sales tax by a penny, and dedicate a significant amount of money to buy out the locally-funded system and make it entirely state funded (but regionally managed). Check back for more details after the session begins.
The Iowa Legislature passes eleven budget bills each year. You can find the non-partisan legislative fiscal staff analysis of each of the fiscal year 2018 budgets passed by the Legislature here. These "NOBAs" (Notes On Bills and Amendments) give you a summary of the budget, spreadsheets, and the actual bill with notes from staff explaining each section. Just make sure you use the most current version of these NOBAs!
Governor Kim Reynolds will present her Fiscal Year 2019 budget in her first "Condition of the State" address on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 10 am. The presentation will be broadcast live on Iowa Public Television and on Iowa Public Radio. Check back here for information about her budget recommendations on January 9.