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, but legislators have appointed a Health Policy Oversight Committee to make sure issues are addressed quickly.
Iowa HealthLink (Medicaid Managed Care)
Resources on Managed Care
MENTAL HEALTH/DISABILITY SERVICES REDESIGN
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. Check back for more information.
The Iowa Legislature passes eleven budget bills each year. You can find the non-partisan legislative fiscal staff analysis of each of these budgets 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!