Letter to the Editor: Iowa health care insurance problems are state government’s own fault

The Rev. Kathryn S. Campbell
Charles City

I really appreciated Kate Hayden’s recent opinion piece urging people of different viewpoints to work together.

We have recently had a great example of how our current partisan obsessions can damage the people of Iowa. Aetna’s refusal to cover people in the (health insurance) marketplace a short time after Wellmark had done the same thing offers a case in point.

Since the national debate has been all about Obamacare, especially the government’s claim that it is imploding, the story claimed that the Iowa situation was a prime example of that failure. If true, that could leave Iowans feeling helpless.

What’s the problem? A couple of years ago, Gov. (Terry) Branstad forced through a scheme to privatize Iowa’s Medicaid in spite of protests against its poor financial structure and then he refused federal subsidies for the Medicaid that has been privatized. Why? Insurance companies will be more efficient and save money. Perfect conservatism.

But of course, insurance companies are businesses and when they discover they can’t make money they leave the market. So tens of thousands of Iowans lose insurance coverage. 

If we understand Iowa’s health insurance problems as a symptom of the current national debate, we have reason to feel helpless. It’s just too big.  If, however, Iowa’s problems are Iowa’s doing, we can take action by paying serious attention to the 2018 state elections. 

We can hold incumbents who supported Branstad’s changes accountable and we can make any candidates seeking our support to speak strongly in favor of undoing the failed privatization and of developing a healthy way for Iowa to support the health of its citizens.

Perhaps our legislators may recall a bit of our famed Iowa nice and begin to work for the good of everyone.