Rep. Dr. Steven Bradley recently wrote an article explaining the current Medicaid situation in Iowa and what it means for dentists like himself. Iowa and most states across the country currently use managed care for at least some portion of their Medicaid program. There are currently 800,000 Iowans who are enrolled in the Medicaid system. Of the 800,000, 417,000 are children receiving healthcare through Medicaid. With those numbers it makes it even more important that this program is fully funded and delivering the full range of services that the state promised.
It's been over six years since the state of Iowa made the decision to shift Medicaid to managed care. For policymakers and taxpayers, it provided a mechanism to bring more stability to our state budget and avoid the skyrocketing health care costs that would have forced cuts in other areas like education and infrastructure.
Dr. Bradley went on to explain how there have also been challenges along the way and believes there is room for improvement in Iowa’s Medicaid reimbursement rates. Dr. Bradley stated “Iowa’s Medicaid program only reimburses twenty cents on the dollar for dental services. This has caused many dentists throughout the state to stop accepting Medicaid members as patients. Even more have been forced to restrict the number of Medicaid patients they take on. This limits the care options for low-income Iowans, who may not have the ability to travel long distances to find dental care.”
Dr. Bradley noted Iowa currently has a billion-dollar budget surplus. This is an indication that Iowa has the resources available to fully fund the Medicaid program. In his final remarks he wrote, “Simply put, managed care has worked well in Iowa and can continue to do so if we are willing to make the appropriate and necessary investments today.”