The idea of injecting more competition in Iowa’s health care industry stalled at the statehouse this week. Governor Branstad wants to change the system that requires new health care facilities to prove to a state board that there’s a need for their services.

Large and small hospitals lined up against a bill that would have allowed for-profit clinics to compete against local hospitals.

“I’m a Republican just like you and I’ve voted Republican all my life,” said Doug Cropper, president and CEO of Genesis Health System based in the Quad Cities. “So why am I opposed to this bill? Because health care is different. The free market does not work.”

Cropper and other hospital execs argued for-profit clinics could cherry-pick patients and leave hospitals footing the bill for full-service medical care for patients who require the most expensive treatments or who do not have insurance. Representative Rob Taylor of West Des Moines is married to a doctor and he pushed back.

“As a limited government, free-enterprise guy, that angers me,” said Taylor, the Republican who sponsored the bill. “…You’re holding the independent, entrepreneurial clinics hostage and not being able to expand their clinics.”

Taylor’s bill failed to advance when Republican Representative Steven Holt of Denison said rural hospitals in his district don’t support the change and neither will he.

(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell)