What is going on Governor Reynolds?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

State Auditor Rob Sand made some interesting comments as he talked about state cost savings and Medicaid.  He noted the MCO’s Amerigroup and United Health again received more state money; 8.4% increase last year ($344 million) and another 8.6% ( $386 million) this year!  Medicaid Director Mike Randol said, “Don’t call it a raise.”           

Auditor Sand said that statement “was not true!”  “While a piece of it may be new services a piece of it is indisputably a raise.” 

Spending on Iowa’s Medicaid program increased by about 37.3% between fiscal years 2012 and 2016.

Iowa Medicaid’s per-member cost increases nearly triple since privatization.

Yet Governor Reynolds keeps giving hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars to out of state companies each year to fund her privatization efforts.  Members are getting less and the state pays more.  

Quoting Iowa Senator Joe Bolkcom:

“Governor Reynolds has given the out-of-state corporations the largest increases for Medicaid in the last decade. The publicly managed Medicaid system grew at an average of 5% each year over a 10-year period before privatization. Last year, the for-profit MCOs got an increase of 8.4%. This year, the increase is 8.6%, which works out to $386 million.

Privatized Medicaid promised to make Iowans healthier and save the state money. Instead, it has proven to be unsustainable, unaffordable and unpredictable—a bad deal for Iowa Medicaid recipients, health care providers and taxpayers.”

Then we have the mysterious firing of DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven who claims the reason he was fired was that Governor Reynolds asked him to approve paying the salary of Elizabeth Matney who left the DHS to accept a job as Reynolds’ adviser on health policy.  

Foxhoven was concerned about the legality of using DHS funds to pay salaries of the Governor’s staff and wanted an attorney general opinion but was asked to resign before he could get an answer.  The GOP Legislature has declined an invitation by the House Oversight Committee to investigate.  Why?

Plus we have no answers or response as to why 411/IPERS was included in a property tax bill when we were told 411/IPERS would not be included in it.  

“There will be zero IPERS bills, period,” GOP Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, the new chair of the House State Government Committee, told the Des Moines Register in referencing the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Kaufmann added: “No tweaks, no adjustments. I’m not even entertaining changing punctuation, let alone policy.”

The rest of the GOP made similar comments prior to the election, yet 411/IPERS was included in a property tax bill and changed.

Wow!  Yet we are told we are demagogues or fear mongering when we question this before the legislative sessions.  

Where are Governor Reynold’s weekly press conferences?  Oh, she eliminated them.  Now she just does press releases.  Why?  Does she not want to answer tough questions?  

Then we have the bait and switch by the governor.  From 6-6-19 Bleeding Heartland:

“Governor Kim Reynolds asked for and received a nearly 10% budget increase for her office operations during the fiscal year beginning on July 1, with a view to hiring two additional full-time employees. Republican lawmakers told members of the Iowa House and Senate the extra funding was for analysts to focus on health policy and tax policy.

This week the governor’s office posted a new job listing on a state government website. Instead of seeking a health or tax policy analyst, the governor is hiring a full-time “public relations manager” to coordinate messaging about her initiatives.

“Those are for tax policy and for health”about $2.3 million.

Republicans included about $2.3 million for the governor’s office in House File 759, the fiscal year 2020 budget bill covering administration and regulatory agencies. Democratic lawmakers objected that they had heard no justification for increasing the governor’s appropriation by $200,000, compared to the current year.”

Not surprisingly, there were no comments from either the GOP Rep. or Senator who pushed this funding item through.  

And finally,

Gay discrimination lawsuit could cost Iowa taxpayers more than $6 million

The Branstad-Reynolds administration fired Chris Godfrey who sued and won a discrimination suit against Governor Branstad.  He was awarded $1.5 million but between lawyer fees on both sides it could cost the state more than $6 million. 

However, if you read any GOP newsletter, things could not be better.  

The GOP newsletters look like fake news to me.  

JOHN BROSTAD 

Storm Lake

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