Branstad Introduces Medicaid Expansion Alternative

By Mike Wiser, Reporter

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By Richard Pratt

DES MOINES, Iowa - Gov. Terry Branstad released a Medicaid expansion alternative Monday that will cost the state more money and won’t cover as many people as Medicaid expansion would.

But, the governor says, it is a better deal for Iowans in the long run because there’s no way the federal government is going to follow through on the obligations it made under voluntary Medicaid expansion.

“When the cut comes, it’s not going to be as big,” he said. “Let’s realize the reality that the federal government is broke.”

Branstad’s proposal, called The Healthy Iowa Plan, will cost $162 million a year. The state’s share of that is $23 million annually. Medicaid expansion is expected to cost the state $2 million.

Medicaid expansion also would cover people with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. and covers people for up to 250 percent of the poverty level in some instances.

The Healthy Iowa Plan requires that everybody pay at least something for their health care coverage, but people who fall below the poverty line could have those payments waived if they take part in services such as health assessments and annual physicals.

Iowans above the poverty level can receive tax credits to subsidize purchasing private health insurance.

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