Capitol Comments, April 1, 2016

This week at the Capitol, I joined my colleagues in an attempt to provide oversight for the impending April 1st transition to privatized Medicaid. Although the plan has been delayed twice by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, problems continue to arise with coverage and contract approval. The Governor’s plan, which was never voted on in the Legislature, is the most rapid Medicaid transition timeline of any state that has attempted to move towards a managed care model. On Wednesday, anecdotal evidence provided on the House floor reinforced what I have been hearing from the people I serve for months now – the only guarantee with this rapid transition is confusion. I believe that we have an obligation to at least provide more oversight of the system to ensure that no Iowans fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that the stories I have heard all session are only the beginning of the problems to come in the near future.

In other news, the House passed legislation to create jobs in the manufacture of byproducts from renewable fuels. The Rural Caucus supported this legislation since it was first introduced in the House in a concerted effort to generate jobs in our rural counties. Governor Branstad’s plan to divert monies from the School Infrastructure Fund to water quality was not well received by either party, spurring an increased effort on water quality funding in the House. As we continue to debate this issue, I have reiterated the importance of a plan that is locally administered and farmer led. We must recognize that every area of the state is unique in its people, topography, soil type, livestock concentration, and farming practices.

It is my honor and a humbling experience to be the State Representative for our community.  I appreciate the messages and correspondence I receive from people in the District.  You can always contact me anytime at bruce.bearinger@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-3221.

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