One of the Republican candidates for governor says a rival should "know better" than to suggest the State of Iowa start running Medicaid and Medicare for Iowans.
Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City says governors should exert their states’ sovereignty from the federal government, ask to keep all the federal tax money collected to run the programs, and then have the state run Medicaid and Medicare. Chris Rants of Sioux City, another gubernatorial candidate, says his opponent’s idea is worse than the health care reform President Obama advocates.
"I think Obama’s plan spells trouble for Iowa, I mean it’s a huge hit to our budget — a $630 million increase in spending, but Mr. Vander Plaats’ plan spells bankruptcy for the state. Bob’s idea would basically double the size of the budget," Rants says. "It’s the proverbial cure that’s worse than the cold."
Rants suggests Vander Plaats "has no idea" just how much his proposal would cost. Rants says his review indicates it would cost about $5.3 billion to run the Medicare and Medicaid programs for Iowans. That amounts to about a third of what Iowans pay to the federal government in taxes.
"It’s highly unlikely that the federal government is going to let us keep a third of the money that gets sent to the federal government in taxes, but it’s more problematic than that," Rants says. "If Iowans suddenly start paying another $5.3 billion to the State of Iowa, that puts our tax climate way, way out of any sort of competitive nature with our neighboring states."
Rants suggests the idea Vander Plaats has floated would raise Iowa’s tax rate so high, Vander Plaats "will have succeeded in doing what Democratic Governor Chet Culver couldn’t, and that is to completely kill" the state’s business climate.
"There are a lot of ideas that sound good in a stump speech, but frankly this is an idea that just doesn’t work in practice," Rants says. "Bob always touts his work on health care. He should know better than this."
From early 1996 to early 2001, Vander Plaats was C.E.O. of "Opportunities Unlimited" in Sioux City, a nonprofit agency that provides services to brain injured children and adults. Rants has been a legislator representing the Sioux City area since 1993. He served as speaker of the Iowa House from 2003 to 2006.