Government

Gubernatorial hopeful Sen. Nate Boulton touts plan to end private managed care

Sen, Boulton calls for improved mental health, reproductive care access

Iowa Sen. Nate Boulton answers a question as democrats rebut points in Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State Address at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa Sen. Nate Boulton answers a question as democrats rebut points in Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State Address at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Iowa should end its failed experiment managed care and improve Iowan’s access to health care, gubernatorial hopeful Nate Boulton said Friday.

Boulton, a state senator from Des Moines and one of six candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, in a media call Friday laid out his plans for Iowa’s health care system, which includes a reversal of its current Medicaid system.

Two years ago this month, Iowa’s Medicaid fee-for-service program run by the state was transitioned to managed care administered by private insurance companies.

Since that time, problems have plagued the privatization, said Boulton, who added he has heard from members who are being denied services and from health care providers who are not being paid on time — or sometimes not at all.

“We’re no longer in a period where these are transitional issues,” he said. “This program has been in place and these managed-care organizations have taken over services for long enough that we should be beyond transition issues.”

Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, who also was on the call in support of Boulton’s agenda, has a child with a disability in Iowa’s managed-care system. Jochum said, as a parent, she’s seen “how well the privatization of Medicaid is working.”

... I can tell you from my standpoint as a mother, it is not working anywhere near where it was prior to privatization.”

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Boulton said he also wants to expand health care access in other areas. He proposed reopening four Planned Parenthood clinics in various parts of the state that were closed last year, for example, as well as mental health facilities across the state that have been shut down.

“It’s not just about going back to where we were, it’s making sure we’re working to address other shortfalls in our health care system,” he said.

Boulton emphasized Iowans should be taking care of Iowans, and the out-of-state insurers administering Medicaid coverage to members has very little stake in the health and security of the state’s residents.

“We’re seeing the result of what out-of-state managed-care companies coming into Iowa has meant for our health care system in Iowa,” Boulton said.

But if the state were to move the Medicaid program back under the state umbrella, Boulton said the managed-care organizations shouldn’t be off the hook for any payments owed to Iowa health care providers.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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