Under the Golden Dome, Too – June 21

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Summer has officially arrived according to the calendar, and with it has come some much welcomed relief from the constant rain and severe weather we’ve been experiencing. Farmers are still busy in the fields getting their last few crops planted in the rich Iowa soil, summer sports are in full swing, and the lake is bustling with boaters and swimmers taking advantage of this great Iowa season.

On Thursday morning, I had the pleasure of attending the Governor’s bill signing ceremony for SF 446 at the Mason City Clinic. The bill provides funding for our state’s health and human services, as well as the framework for the Iowa Health & Wellness Plan. I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a big thank you to the personnel and employees at the Mason City Clinic for hosting us for such a tremendous occasion and display of good, bipartisan work.

At the beginning of the year, the Governor laid out a plan for reforming Iowa’s health care system for our neediest citizens. His plan provided some good goals for our state, and with the expiration of IowaCares- an outdated and inefficient health care program, we saw this as an opportunity to improve upon Iowa’s current system of care.

Our caucus and the Governor believed that we needed a program that was an Iowa plan. We did not want to cede control of any portion of our health care system to the federal government, but rather find a solution that could be implemented close to home, not Washington, D.C.

Utilizing the Governor’s structure, we worked to find areas of agreement among the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats. We worked diligently to come up with a bipartisan, Iowa-based solution that makes the most sense for our state- and we were successful.

The Iowa Health & Wellness Plan will improve the quality of care for individuals under 100% of poverty, while rewarding patients for personal responsibility and improving their overall health and wellness.

This plan does not simply expand a decades-old and broken system, but instead provides a sustainable and innovative solution that is in the best interest of Iowans. The plan also includes an option to opt-out of the program at any time, for any reason, if federal participation does not work.

While there may still be work to be completed as we go through the approval process with the federal government, we are optimistic that this plan will be implemented. We are proud of the truly bipartisan work that went into crafting this legislation. It is our hope that other states around the country will look at the efforts made across the aisle in Iowa as an example to follow, and that the Iowa Health & Wellness Plan will become a model of implementation.

Thank you for providing me with your feedback on many of the issues from this past legislative session. I appreciate hearing from you! As always, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime with your thoughts, comments, or concerns at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618.

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