Governor to Sign Health Care Expansion into Law

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad addresses the Linn Eagles at the Cedar Rapids Country Club on Friday, Jan. 13, 2011, in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Rachel Begle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is set to sign legislation that expands low-income health care in Iowa.

Branstad is scheduled to sign the bill Thursday in Mason City. The location was selected to acknowledge two lawmakers from the region - Republican House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer and Democratic Sen. Amanda Ragan - who helped broker the final deal.

Under the plan, Iowa will accept federal dollars offered to states that expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The state will use the funding to create a new health plan for some poor residents and will pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get insurance on the new health care exchanges.

The plan will require federal approval. Branstad says he's optimistic that will happen.

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