Branstad unveils alternative to Medicaid expansion


March 4th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad says his health care proposal for some low-income Iowans will not provide the same benefits as an expanded Medicaid, but called his approach more fiscally responsible.  Branstad on Monday unveiled Healthy Iowa, a revamped version of IowaCare, a state and federally funded program which provides limited benefits to about 70,000 low-income adults. The new plan would adjust eligibility rules and offer some additional coverage, including service in more locations.

Branstad wants to get federal approval to set up Healthy Iowa instead of pursing a Medicaid expansion permitted under President Obama’s health care overhaul. He says his approach will better shield Iowa from federal fiscal changes. Democrats in the state Senate say the plan would provide people with fewer benefits at a higher cost to the state.