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Feds Back Iowa Medicaid Expansion Plan

DES MOINES (AP) -- Federal authorities are granting approval to Iowa's proposal to expand low-income health care.

Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service announced Tuesday that Iowa's request was granted with "virtually all the initiatives the state has proposed."  But authorities are not giving the Gov. Terry Branstad as much flexibility as he sought to charge premiums to the very poor.

Iowa sought a waiver enabling the state to receive more federal Medicaid money for the proposed Iowa Health and Wellness Plan. The new health insurance program would cover up to 150,000 residents.

The state wanted to charge small monthly premiums to those with incomes over half of the federal poverty line starting in 2015. Federal officials said Iowa could only charge those with incomes above 100 percent of poverty.

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