Letter: Downsides to Medicaid changes

Kim Reem doesn’t get it. Regarding Gov. Terry Branstad’s Medicaid privatization, she claims “change is hard,” espousing that the privatization is “expanding benefits to Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens” (“Medicaid privatization expands benefits,” Aug. 23).

She says this because it offers better preventive services, more doctors, better transparency and more accountability. I’m not sure where she got these ideas because I couldn’t find evidence in her letter to support them.

In fact, the opposite seems to be true. A survey by state legislators of over 420 Medicaid providers across our state, detailed in “Survey: Billing issues plague Iowa providers of Medicaid” in the July 26 Gazette, found that:

Forty-six percent of providers have reduced or plan on reducing the services they provide.

Sixty-one percent stated that the quality of services they provide is suffering as a result of Branstad’s privatization to three out-of-state managed care companies.

Ninety percent of providers stated administrative costs have increased and almost 67 percent have received lower reimbursement rates.

Nearly 80 percent have received late payments and 28 percent of providers have had to take out loans to cover the gap while waiting for the managed care companies to pay them.

So, yes, change is hard. Especially when it is, verifiably, a change for the worse.

Kevin McNee


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