“Iowa’s Medicaid’s per-member cost increases nearly triple since privatization,” was the headline that jumped out at me from the Des Moines Register’s online Top 5 for September 20. Wasn’t this quick change to privatization that our previous Republican governor pushed through and that our present Republican governor supports supposed to save us money? Oh, yes, and wasn’t it supposed to result in better medical services, not fewer and poorer?
From the beginning, the idea of completely privatizing Medicaid was flawed. Insurance companies need to make a profit, and the only way for them to make money is to either have a high percentage of healthy clients or to cut services. A much larger than average percent of Medicaid clients have chronic or permanent medical problems, so Iowa’s private Medicaid insurers have cut services and still need more money to make a profit. Taxpayers are asked to pay more for less, and Iowans with special needs and serious medical problems are left to suffer. These are our neighbors: adults and children with cerebral palsy or other mobility handicaps, heart and lung conditions, seizures, and other conditions that often limit their present and future income.
It’s time to get leaders into public office at all levels with ideas and determination to fix this problem rather than those who just spend their time denying there is a problem.