Editorial: Lawsuit is welcome in Iowa Medicaid debacle

For more than a year now, the Iowa Department of Human Services has consistently failed to disclose reliable, detailed information on the impact of its controversial Medicaid privatization scheme.

Health care providers, legislators and the media have all complained that some of the information that has been disclosed by the state seems unsupported by hard data or appears to be contradicted by other information that’s readily available.

In April, for example, Iowa’s hospital leaders were stunned when then-Gov. Terry Branstad claimed the number of Iowa Medicaid recipients admitted to hospitals had dropped by more than half since private managed-care companies began running the program in 2016.

Branstad’s claim was intended to buttress his argument that Medicaid privatization has been a resounding success, leading to improved health outcomes and big savings for taxpayers.

But data from the Iowa Hospital Association show the number of Medicaid recipients being discharged from Iowa hospitals declined about 4 percent over the past year. Referring to the governor’s claims, an IHA spokesman said, “Those sort of numbers don’t make any sense.”

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