Prepared remarks by Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City, ranking member of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee

Thank you Mr. President.

I am extremely disappointed by this proposed budget for Health and Human Services.

In the past, Democrats and Republicans worked out our differences together.

In the end, we jointly supported mental health services. We jointly supported home and community services. We jointly supported locally-based access to healthcare; and we jointly protected seniors and people with disabilities.

That togetherness is not written anywhere within this budget.

This budget, as crafted by the majority, is a bad budget for Iowa and its citizens.

It is a bad budget first and foremost because it hurts people.

It is a bad budget because hurting people will INCREASE costs for Iowa taxpayers in the future for almost all programs.

Some examples I have found that are truly harmful include:

Denial of support services needed by people to stay in their own homes.  More Iowa grandparents, parents and spouses will be PUSHED into costly nursing home care sooner than they want, sooner than is necessary.  That will increase state costs for NO benefit.

Fewer long term care ombudsmen will mean fewer Iowans get the services they deserve and need—and that will increase costs to Iowa taxpayers.

Cuts in family planning will result in more unintended pregnancies, more risky births, more teenage mothers—and that will increase costs to Iowa taxpayers as we try to support these families.

Cuts to disease prevention will mean more preventable diseases—particularly tobacco related diseases—will not be addressed.  And that will increase state healthcare costs.

Higher DHS caseloads will result in more missed and mishandled child abuse cases.  That means more costly consequences to schools, health care providers, and our courts—all of which will increase state costs to Iowa taxpayers.

Childcare cuts will prevent parents from working.  That’s bad for family incomes, bad for employers, and something that will also increase state costs as families fall further and further behind economically.

I’m also very disappointed that there is nothing in this bill focused on improving Medicaid Privatization. Watching it collapse is not a plan.

Doing nothing to fix the current Medicaid mess will also increase state costs – as it has done already.  Not to mention the massive negative impact this ill-considered program has had on thousands and thousands of recipients, providers, and family care givers.

Lastly, I’d like to know why this budget singles out Iowa hospitals for drastic cuts?

Democrats support Iowa’s local hospitals.  We know they are often the economic engines of rural communities.  They provide necessary, life-giving, services.

There is no reason why Republicans are treating Iowa hospitals so shabbily in this budget.

Mr. President, for all these inadequacies, I cannot support this bill.  I strongly urge my colleagues to vote no.

Iowans expect their Legislature to make great laws setting priorities to protect kids, seniors, vulnerable Iowans, and all of our families.  This horrendous budget falls far short of that goal.

We can and should do better for Iowans, whose health and safety programs are being destroyed by this bill.

Thank you.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.