Providers, patients and lawmakers in Iowa are urging the CMS to reject a waiver request that would permit the state's Medicaid program to become exclusively a managed-care program. Currently, the state administers the program through several delivery systems, including independent primary-care physicians, accountable care organizations and managed-care plans.
In August, Iowa's Department of Human Services awarded Medicaid managed-care contracts to AmeriHealth Caritas, Anthem, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare Health Plans. The Iowa Hospital Association and other critics, including beneficiaries, say the waiver request will block access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries and lead to lower provider payments as the managed-care companies seek to maximize their profits.
The state aims to begin enrolling beneficiaries in managed-care plans on Jan. 1, but stakeholders say that's too soon.
State Sen. Janet Petersen, a Democrat, asked acting CMS administrator Andy Slavitt to use his authority to halt Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's “unilateral” decision to “privatize” Iowa's Medicaid program.
Some beneficiaries said they worry their care will suffer if the transition happens. One unidentified person described fears that certain providers and medications won't be covered after the transition, saying, “Being disabled, I see many providers, and there are only certain medications that work for me."