Democrats in the Iowa Senate want to spend two-hundred-15 million dollars next year to expand access to health care. Their plan includes 185 million dollars for the state’s Medicaid program that provides health care for poor and disabled Iowans. It also calls fora 25 million dollar increase in spending on the HAWK-I program which provides low- and reduced-cost insurnace for poor children. Another five million dollars would be spent on community health centers and free clinics which Senator Jack Hatch, a democrat from Des Moines, says are an integral part of the health care system. “They are ususally manned in small towns, rural counties by P.A.s — Physicians Assistants and nurse practitioners. In many cases they are the only clniics in small towns,” Hatch says. He believes that five MILLION dollars would let new community health centers open in Dubuque, Fort Dodge and Storm Lake. Such clinics often get federal funding in addition to state tax support. The spending plan must win the approval of republicans as well as democrats in the equallly-divided Senate, then must be endorsed by the republican-controlled House before it reaches the governor for his consideration.
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