Last week, Representative John Forbes (D) & I held a news conference to introduce HIPO. (Healthy Iowans for a Public Option)
HIPO is a a straight forward healthcare plan which also returns Medicaid control back to the state.
In April of 2016, three for-profit companies took control over our state's Medicaid program, orchestrated by then Iowa Governor Terry Branstad & Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. The privatization of Medicaid was to save "10's of millions of dollars", by Branstad/Reynolds, but in turn the results were catastrophic.
In May of 2017, reports showed an increase of 270% of complaints & appeals to the three companies managing our state's Medicaid programs. The statistics are driven by private businesses focusing their care on revenue & not the health of Iowans.
HIPO reverses the horrendous impact of the Branstad/Reynolds Administrations efforts to destroy healthcare in Iowa. On Friday, we stood in front of local news, fellow legislators & citizens from across the state to share our plans. What we learned was that Iowans are not concerned with where/who is behind the improvements to our state’s healthcare crisis, but rather scared at when they expect to have affordable choices once again.
Mason City resident, Bill Zook, who recently retired stated he spent nearly $25 thousand in 2016 on coverage & shared his grievances with those in attendance of our conference on Friday at the State Capitol.
"I was waiting for stopgap, I was waiting for people like these senators and representatives for solutions,” Zook said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Representative Forbes & I were fortunate to speak with Mr. Zook following our conference to learn more about his struggles with the lack of providers & options available to him & many other vulnerable Iowans today as a result of a dysfunctional Republican Congress & a president who’s end goal is to dismantle Obamacare, even if it hurts millions of Americans in the process.
The truth is, our 'proposal' isn't something that can go into effect overnight. We will need to work in a bipartisan way, Democrats & Republicans coming together to work towards a good solution.
Iowans are still hurting from the slashing from the GOP & the continued assault of healthcare coming out of Washington, but now is the time for Republicans & Democrats in Iowa to think about those who are in trouble. It is our responsibility to speak for those without a voice. Representative Forbes & I have spoken. It's your move, Republicans.