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Iowa News

How Obamacare helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage can make or break the lives of any American, but particularly people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped millions of people, including individuals with I/DD. The key ingredient was the additional federal contribution to expand, which has helped more people access health care without harming the existing programs that provide supports and services to people with I/DD. Access to consistent and reliable health care is imperative for these individuals and the ACA created reforms to health insurance, addressed systemic discrimination and expanded coverage. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

The ugly truth about repealing Obamacare
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a nonpartisan federal agency that provides budget and economic information to Congress. Lawmakers may not always like a CBO conclusion, but it is recognized as the definitive, unbiased evaluation of proposed legislation. At least 18 million people would lose insurance the first year, according to a report released Tuesday. Within a decade, the number would grow to about 32 million people. And the premiums for people buying individual coverage without help from an employer will quickly increase and double within 10 years. (Des Moines Register)

Branstad’s health coverage plans worry Iowa’s public employees
Governor Terry Branstad’s plan to curb costs for public employees’ health insurance worries union leaders, even as new studies confirm those costs are skyrocketing and many state employees pay far less for premiums than workers elsewhere. Branstad, in his Condition of the State address, proposed legislation that would remove health insurance as a subject of collective bargaining for unions representing state, city, county and school district employees. Unions representing public employees at all levels of Iowa government are concerned about Branstad’s plans. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Former AHA CEO Rich Umbdenstock: ‘You can’t lay all of the problems on Obamacare’
As a Republican-controlled Congress and the Trump administration start discussing plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the former CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA) has some advice to offer. “It isn’t the ACA,” said Rich Umbdenstock. “It’s health care that’s complicated. You can’t lay all of the problems on Obamacare.” The ACA’s struggles are the same facing the U.S. health care system: How to provide high quality care at affordable rates to the entire population, Umbdenstock said in an interview Wednesday. Hospitals, he said, have been at the forefront of that struggle. (Spokesman-Review)

Trump’s Health secretary pick fought to limit coverage in one of America’s neediest states
Gaps in Georgia’s overburdened health care system aren’t hard to find. Georgia has some of the worst health outcomes in the country, with high rates of untreated illness and death from preventable diseases. The state is also home to Dr. Tom Price, the Republican congressman tapped to be the next Health and Human Services secretary. As a physician in Georgia and a lawmaker for 20 years, first in the state Legislature and then as a member of Georgia’s congressional delegation, Price has relentlessly fought to limit healthcare safety net programs, even as nearly one in five of his fellow Georgians were locked out of health coverage. (Los Angeles Times)

Obamacare repeal threatens public health funding to states
The funding for many state public health and prevention programs is in jeopardy as Congress moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the ACA requires insurers to cover mammograms, colonoscopies and other preventive care, a less prominent provision authorized a federal fund to prevent the soaring incidence of chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. It also funds education targeting college suicides, smoking and low-income new mothers. Supporters worry an ACA repeal could eliminate the fund at a time when it is needed to reduce the $3.2 trillion spent to treat illness and disease with medical services and drugs. (USA Today)

Republican Senator would let states keep Obamacare if they want
Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy is making an offer to Democrats he hopes they won’t refuse: If their states like Obamacare, they can keep it. A doctor who worked for decades in charity hospitals and clinics before joining Congress, Cassidy plans to introduce soon an updated version of his health-care plan aimed at giving states flexibility to keep Obamacare, nix it entirely or transition to a new system of health savings accounts and automatic health plan enrollment. Republicans will need Democratic support to pass a full replacement for Obamacare, and Cassidy’s approach may be the most likely to appeal to Democrats of the ones offered by the GOP so far. (Bloomberg)

GOP governors who turned down Medicaid money have hands out
Republican governors who turned down billions in federal dollars from an expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care law now have their hands out in hopes the GOP Congress comes up with a new formula to provide insurance for low-income Americans. The other GOP governors who agreed to expand state-run services in exchange for federal help — more than a dozen out of the 31 states — are adamant that Congress maintain the financing that has allowed them to add millions of low-income people to the health insurance rolls. (Associated Press/Seattle Times)

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