A new study financed by the American Hospital Association concludes Iowa’s economy will get a more than $2.2 billion boost over the next seven years if the governor changes his mind about letting 115,000 more Iowans enroll in Medicaid.
“What this study looks at is, bottom line, what would the net jobs growth be if Iowa accepted the federal support for Medicaid expansion?” says Kirk Norris, president & CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association. “And the net growth in jobs between now and 2020 would be about 2,400 jobs.”
Governor Terry Branstad has resisted the call to expand Medicaid coverage to more Iowans. Branstad argues the state shouldn’t trust the federal government to pay the full cost of providing health care coverage to those Iowans. Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm, a Democrat from Cresco, took to the Senate floor Tuesday morning to criticize Branstad.
“He’s been on the state payroll almost all of his adult life. His family has never had to live without health insurance and that’s the plain and simple truth,” she said. “It’s not the governor’s fault that he apparently has no idea what it’s like to live in poverty, but it is his fault that he’s failing Iowans who do.”
Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, snapped back: “There’s no room in this chamber for personal attacks. It’s not going to get us anywhere. Save it for the trail next year.”
In 2014, Branstad is likely to campaign for reelection to a sixth term as governor. Branstad himself went to Fort Madison Tuesday and the governor blasted Senate Democrats who’ve raised questions about the $100 million in state incentives Branstad agreed to give an Egyptian company that’s building a fertilizer plant in southeast Iowa.