Health Care Programs

December 18, 2011 by staff 

Health Care Programs, Recently, the state of Iowa was awarded a $7.7 million grant to implement the Iowa Health Insurance Exchange. This was great news to thousands of Iowans searching for more affordable health insurance. There’s just one problem Gov. Terry Branstad and the Legislature need to address: Iowa doesn’t have an insurance exchange to implement or administer.

Health insurance exchanges aim to encourage competition among insurers and give consumers access to a variety of more affordable insurance options. Exchanges are required under the Affordable Care Act and must be established and operational by Jan. 1, 2014. If a state chooses to opt out, the federal government will establish the exchange according to federal guidelines.

Iowa is one of the states challenging key provisions of the Affordable Care Act in the courts. If the ACA is not overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress, Iowa will have two choices: Comply with the law, or wait for the federal government to do it for us.

From our perspective, the choice is pretty simple: work together in the 2012 legislative session to establish an Iowa exchange that works for every Iowan. The exchange will need to be established during the 2012 session so that we have enough time to implement the details before the 2014 deadline.

Cancer patients in Iowa already have benefitted from the implementation of the ACA. They no longer face lifetime limits on coverage that caused termination of their benefits and cancer care. Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage. Early detection and prevention services, so critical in our battle against all forms of cancer, are now covered.

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