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April 11th, 2013
 

Iowa Healthcare Battle Rages Between Branstad, Dems

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Written by: Kevin Hall
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In a complete reversal of history, Iowa Democrats are opposing a plan because it costs too much. At least, that is what they claim. Democrats in the Iowa Senate want the state to adopt the Medicaid expansion plan provided by the federal government under Obamacare. Governor Branstad believes a state-based model would serve Iowans better. The fight grew ugly on the senate floor Wednesday morning.

Just minutes after the session convened, Senator Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines), who has aspirations to run for governor, went on a six-minute ran about a flier that was distributed around the capitol by the Branstad administration. The flier includes a chart, which you can see below, that compares Branstad’s “Healthy Iowa Plan” to the Democrats’ Medicaid expansion, which relies heavily on the unreliable federal government.

Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 11.37.20 PM

“This flier is just so seriously flawed from start to finish,” Hatch claimed. “One thing comes out very clear. In talking about healthcare and talking about our plan that we passed here last week, he knows nothing about what he is talking about.”

It is interesting that Hatch claims Branstad “knows nothing” about healthcare. Prior to returning to the governor’s office in 2010, Terry Branstad spent over six years as the president of Des Moines University, the 15th largest medical school in the country. Aside from many years in the Iowa legislature, and a stint working as Tom Harkin’s state director, Jack Hatch’s experience is in the field of property management.

“Our goal is to become the healthiest state in the nation and we put a plan together that’s designed to work with that fundamental goal,” Branstad said Monday. “We want to make sure it’s sustainable. We know what the federal government is doing is not affordable and sustainable.”

The plan that Hatch and the Democrats champion is based on the federal government’s claim that it will fully fund Medicaid expansion in the states for the first three years, and then 90% thereafter. Branstad argues that the feds cannot be trusted to keep their commitment.

“They have these entitlement programs that are out of control and they’re spending a trillion dollars more than they’re taking in,” Branstad said.

Sen. Hatch was likely dismayed with what he heard from lobbyists at the capitol on Wednesday. Healthcare interest groups had been pressing legislators to support the Democrats’ Medicaid expansion. However, since Branstad unveiled his plan last week, they have changed their tune a bit, telling the Des Moines Register they like the innovative changes offered in governor’s vision.

“Jack Hatch is angry, because he attached his health care hopes to a failed, 1960s program like Medicaid while Governor Branstad instead offers a modern health care plan that will make its patients healthier,” said Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht.

Keep in mind that when the Iowa Senate Democrats try to claim their plan will save money that their budget calls for spending $200 million more than what the state was expected to take in. It’s also a 10 percent increase over last year’s budget.

Branstad’s healthcare plan offers incentives to lower income Iowans to take an active role in maintaining and improving their health.

“I know that there are some people that already have their minds made up and aren’t even willing to look at the details of this plan,” the governor said. “All of this is designed to really provide a robust system that provides an opportunity for people to be able to take ownership of their own health and become the healthiest state in the nation, and make sure those opportunities are there.”


About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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