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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds talks about access to healthcare and setting of Iowa's Medicaid privatization initiative
William Petroski

More than 425,000 poor or disabled Iowans are losing their health insurance.

UnitedHealthcare, which manages health care for more than two-thirds of Iowans at Medicaid, leaves the market, Gov. Kim Reynolds office announced late Friday afternoon. Departure, coming in the next few months, came after contract negotiations collapsed, Reynolds said in a press release.

UnitedHealthcare is the second Medicaid management company to sponsor Iowa since the state's controversial decision to privatize its Medicaid system in 2016. AmeriHealth Caritas left the state in 2017, having complained that it had lost hundreds of millions of dollars in project.

The governor's office said that United Healthcare members could continue to see their health care professionals as usual at present.

"We wanted to alert the public as soon as possible; but that means we're still working on the details, including the timeline of the transition to UnitedHealthcare members," the governor's press release said. "UnitedHealthcare members will be sent messages that make a choice in organizations with responsible care. They can choose the amerigroup of Iowa or Iowa Total Care for their coverage. "Private Medicaid Management Dealers, including Reynolds, have said it can provide more efficient and effective care than the public administration provided, but critics, including many patient and caregivers, say it has led to cuts and services. and heights of the loss.

In the press release, Reynolds UnitedHealthcare had made "unreasonable and unsustainable" claims in contract negotiations.

"Unfortunately, UnitedHealthcare continued to make further claims that I found to be unacceptable, including a provision that would "I would like to assure Iowans that the state will work closely with UnitedHealthcare over the next few months to minimize disruption and ensure a smooth transition to the other two managed care companies." 19659015] Democrats ran

Democrats, who had long criticized Medicaid privatization, quickly pounced on k unngjøringen.

"It is time for Governor Reynolds and GOP lawmakers to finally admit that Medicaid privatization fails and it must be resolved immediately," said Liza Heddens, D-Ames, in a news release. She is a ranking member of the Health and Subcommittee on Health. human services

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Rep. Zach Wahls, D-Coralville tweeted : "This news confirms what hundreds of thousands of Iowans already know: Medicaid privatization has been a disaster from day one. It's time to end this failed experiment and put Medicaid back under state control. "

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, called the situation" an absolute disaster "and said it was time for the state to take control of its Medicaid system, saying he was skeptical Reynolds saved Iowa money In the negotiations with the companies managing the state's Medicaid program, and noting that the budget of the program has increased every year.

"I think she thinks she is negotiating a tough buy that we've put money into, says the system.

The Republic's leadership said that the legislator must play a role in what is happening next.

"I am incredibly disappointed that United Healthcare is leaving the Medicaid program, which can lead to confusion for thousands of Iowans they serve," says Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, says. "It is unfortunate that UnitedHealthcare wanted more money for less supervision and responsibility, which is unacceptable. I want to thank Gov. Reynolds to stand firm in their negotiations. "

" We closely monitor this situation and help our participants navigate the system during this transition, "she said.

Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa and Head of The Senate Human Resources Committee said the legislature could address the law to deal with the outcome.

"I'm sure there will be talks on Monday," she said. 19659005] Register journalists Barbara Rodriguez and Stephen Gruber-Miller contributed to this report.

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