Senate Democrats propose changes to Iowa’s Medicaid program

Two Democratic senators have proposed a bill that would return thousands of Iowans living with severe, complex and permanent disabilities back to a state-managed Medicaid program and make other changes to the program privatized three years ago.

Republicans have shown no interest in reversing course on privatization of the health program for disabled and poor Iowans so Democrats say they’ll propose ideas to fix some of the most common problems.

Senators Amanda Ragan of Mason City and Liz Mathis of Hiawatha said Thursday their proposal would create independent case management to reduce conflict between Medicaid recipients and the private managed care organizations running the program.

It would also eliminate the need for authorization before seeking substance abuse treatment, a requirement that can delay help and lead to overdoses.

The three companies running the program would be required to seek outside review of denied claims and make it easier for recipients to switch providers.

A Senate subcommittee will consider the bill Feb. 5.

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