A national, non-profit health care advocacy group released a report today showing Iowa is not among the states facing huge cuts in their health care safety net programs. Families U.S.A . executive director Ron Pollack says 19 states have enacted or proposed Medicaid cuts in their 2009 budgets.
"Families across the nation are being battered economically during this recession and they qualify in rising numbers through job losses and pay cuts for the health care safety net programs like Medicaid and CHIP (state Childrens Health Insurance Program)," Pollack said in a conference call with reporters. "Tragically, however, as states struggle to balance their budgets, families in increasing numbers are seeing their benefits reduced and co-pays increased."
Pollack says the incoming Obama administration is proposing an increase in federal matching funds for states to operate their programs, which he says will have benefits beyond those being covered.
"An increase in federal Medicaid matching funds is a win-win proposition," Pollack claims. "It would enable the states to meet the growing health care needs of its families, while providing a major boost to each state’s economy." The report places Iowa in the "lost opportunity" category, saying the state’s plan to expand health coverage to needy children under the HAWK-I program is on hold, pending re-authorization of the program by the federal government. HAWK-I, or Healthy and Well Kids Iowa, is Iowa’s version of CHIP.