Iowa House passes bill that would make fixes to Medicaid

The Iowa House unanimously approved a measure Thursday that would make a number of fixes to Iowa's privatized Medicaid system, in an effort to address many of the problems the system has faced over the last several months.

“Where answers have been slow and forthcoming, with the application of some of these suggestions we’re going to have a smoother operating Medicaid delivery system," said Rep. Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant.

The bill advanced after a 97-0 vote. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.

In April 2016, three private companies known as managed care organizations took over the state's $5 billion Medicaid program that serves poor and disabled Iowans. Critics have called the privatized system a failure, wanting Iowa to return to the state-run program amid concerns from providers that they aren’t getting paid and some Medicaid members who say there’s been a decline in their level of care.

Even Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has long supported the managed care system, acknowledged publicly in her State of the State address in January that this system hasn't been perfect and needed adjustments to improve it.

The bill is designed to address some of those concerns and "make managed care more manageable."

“The legislature has been receiving a lot of emails keeping us up to date on problems in the system," Heaton said.

This legislation would require managed care organizations pay providers by the deadlines stipulated in their contracts. It also says managed care organizations are not allowed to roll back care for members without approval from the Department of Human Services.

This bill would also require a third party auditor to evaluate small claims under $2,500, which are the most frequent outstanding payments.

It also establishes a number of other provisions that make changes to the current system.

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