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Healthy Iowa Plan and its budget

To the Editor:

My puzzlement is how the new and improved IowaCare (the Healthy Iowa Plan) be implemented and not substantially increase its budget. In SFY12, the total expenditures from all funds for the IowaCare program covering 63,500 Iowans was $162,099,515. The Healthy Iowa Plan will cover 95,000 Iowans who are below the poverty line with its projected cost of around $164 million.

The new plan takes away $42 million county mental health property taxes to help fund the plan. Will county property taxes be raised to continue local mental health care? How are mental health care and drug treatments being improved? How many rural hospitals and primary care doctors will be in this new system? Will the Healthy Iowa Plan meet federal law guidelines? Are systems set in place to begin signing up recipients by Oct. 1?

Why are we not signing up for the established Medicaid expansion? Gov. Branstad has not given us a plausible reason other than the political answer that he does not like the law that was initiated by Pres. Obama. Did we elect a governor who wants to dictate which federal laws are worthy of improving the lives of Iowans?

There are too many unanswered questions to back this risky plan for Iowa. We can only rely on our state legislators to persuade Gov. Branstad to sign into Iowa law the cost effective Medicaid expansion.

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