The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

May 30, 2013

State health plan a hybrid

OTTUMWA — While neither side got the health care plan they designed, the proposal they ended up with is not too bad, said two area legislators from different parties.

"It is different, that's true," said state Sen. Ken Rosenboom, R-Oskaloosaa. "It’s a hybrid is the term some people were using in Des Moines. A compromise. But I feel it's a very workable, reasonable compromise."

"I’m just really thankful the leadership worked on this that whole weekend," said state Representative Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa. "I was fearful we wouldn’t get it through the federal government. But this one has a chance, and if there are any issues, they might be minor enough we can work them out."

An example of the concern state lawmakers have: The federal government does not allow monthly premiums to be charged when people are on specific low-income health-care programs. To be fair, though, added Gaskill, the final rules are not yet in place. While there has been a vote, it will be up to the Iowa Department of Human Services to determine exactly how the new plan gets implemented.

But the "big questions" have already been answered.

"If you break down the two sides in the debate, [this] was the piece of the equation the Republicans felt was missing: They wanted responsibility included," said Rosenboom. "The governor wanted — and I agreed — there must be some accountability. People must have some ownership over their own health."

"I understand the Republicans and the governor, that people do need to be more responsible for their health," said Gaskill. "Obesity and smoking tend to cause health problems."

"If you can live any [unhealthy] lifestyle you want, then send someone else the medical bill for the consequences, that doesn’t seem reasonable to me," Rosenboom said.

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