Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack is accusing opponent Doug Gross, the Republican running for Governor, of having a “credibility gap” by calling for cuts in Medicaid but not providing details. Vilsack says corporate special interests will benefit from Gross’ plan. Vilsack says Gross would either have to cut payments to doctors, dentists, hospitals and others who provide health care to poor Iowans or cut the medical services poor Iowans may obtain through Medicaid. Bill Miller, a nurse anesthetist who works at Shelby County Hospital in Harlan and has treated members of Gross’ extended family, joined Vilsack today in assailing Gross’ call for cuts in the Medicaid program.Miller says Medicaid accounts for between seven and 19 percent of Iowa hospitals’ bottom line, and cuts in Medicaid spending might cause the closure of some hospitals.Chris Louscher of Algona, chair of the Iowa Council on Human Services, says over half of the state’s Medicaid spending goes to provide care to children, and another significant portion helps poor elderly. Poor Iowans who are disabled or mentally ill Iowans also get Medicaid.Louscher says all of those groups deserve medical care.Vilsack says Medicaid accounts for about 10 percent of state spending, which he says is half of the national average among the states. The Gross campaign has not responded to a request for an interview.
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