Privitizing Medicaid in Iowa has contentious since day one, and according to Representative Greg Heartsill the Iowa Legislature may be giving the change another look. The issue – savings have been far less than originally anticipated – just $47.1 million in fiscal year 2018, which is $184.9 million less than what then Governor Terry Branstad predicted when he ordered the privatized shift in 2015. Heartsill says one of the mistakes he believes lawmakers made during the switch to privatization was not taking a look and evaluating the good and the bad that happened in other states that have made similar moves. Heartsill says the state may have bit off more than they could chew and it’s time law makers stepped in and took another look at the issue.
Mahaska County has joined 34 other counties in the state of Iowa who have together filed a lawsuit against drug companies. Neighboring counties including Marion and Monroe are also listed as filing suit in an effort to combat the opioid drug epidemic. Defendants in the case include heavyweights such as Purdue Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, and Endo Pharmaceuticals. Mahaska County Board of Supervisors Chair Henry “Willie” Van Weelden said the epidemic has hit the bottom line in Iowa counties in very real ways, including overdose autopsies and jailing drug offenders.