Federal officials have approved extending the state’s “IowaCare” program which covers about 40,000 Iowans who would not otherwise be eligible for government-paid Medicaid.
The program was set to expire this year and Governor Chet Culver announced today that federal officials have given the state a waiver which allows the program to continue to another three years.
“We had to really fight for it. I was on the phone with Secretary Sebelius and certainly want to thank her and the administration for their flexibility,” Culver says. “…It’s really a cause for celebration and there was no guarantee whatsoever that this waiver would be granted.”
According to the governor, this extension will allow Iowans who might have fallen through the cracks to get basic coverage for health care services until the new federal health care reform plan goes into effect in 2014.
Those who are currently enrolled in the “IowaCare” program must go to either Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines or to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City or their trips to the doctor and treatment won’t be covered. Under the waiver that has been granted, “IowaCare” patients will be able to go to a longer list of “federally-qualified” health clinics, starting October 1.
Culver says that addresses concerns about access. “And now we will have between 10 and 15 additional local health care providers or facilities — hospitals, clinics — across the state,” Culver says.
The state faced a $100 million shortfall if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hadn’t issued the waiver.