Iowans concerned about access to health care say the state budget republican legislators have crafted will lead to dramatic cuts in medical services for the poor. Iowa City nurse Sarah Swisher, a leader in a group called “Iowa for Health Care,” says the proposed one percent spending increase in Iowa’s Medicaid program is woefully inadequate. Swisher says the legislature is playing games, pretending that health care costs don’t increase, that prescription drug costs aren’t going up and that high unemployment doesn’t send more needy Iowans into the Medicaid system to get health care. Swisher says it’s a game show called “The Price is Wrong.” Swisher says republican lawmakers need to raise the cigarette tax to provide more money for state health care programs. And she says the public overwhelmingly supports a tobacco tax hike. Swisher predicts the state Medicaid program will run out of money within six months, and lawmakers will either have to dramatically cut services, kick people out of the program or reduce what the state pays doctors, hospitals and clinics that treat Medicaid patients.
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