Legislators talk Medicaid expansion - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Legislators talk Medicaid expansion

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

State leaders are debating whether to take hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding.

Taking the funds would expand Medicaid for thousands of Iowans, but some fear it could lead to financial problems.

400 senior citizens live at Meth-Wick Community.  As residents at the facility age, many apply for health care coverage through Medicaid.
CEO Robin Mixdorf believes that before the state expands the program, they need to speed up the application process.

"It can take upwards to nine months to be eligible for the Medicaid program," said Mixdorf.  "We have seniors who need to, within 30 or 45 days of making their application, to get service."

Mixdorf was one of a small group of local health care providers who met with state legislators in Cedar Rapids Wednesday.

Some leaders want to utilize $500 million of federal Medicaid funding to expand the program to cover thousands of Iowans.

"The governor doesn't feel that we should use those Medicaid dollars because of the inconsistency in the past for Medicaid reimbursement but I don't see how we can't use those dollars," said Democratic state senator Liz Mathis from Linn County.

Several hospitals in Iowa back the idea but some medical professionals are hesitant.

"Most of their concerns are around provider rates," said Mathis.  "They just want to make sure that they're reimbursed at the rate of business so they don't go out of business."

Senior health care providers would be happy getting reimbursed the money they're already owed.

"I'm hoping they take the message back that, along with their consideration of expansion of Medicaid, that they appropriately fund the current Medicaid services that are offered in the state of Iowa," said Mixdorf.

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