House again backs Medicaid oversight bill

DES MOINES ? The Iowa House once again has unanimously approved legislation providing oversight of Medicaid managed care to deal with what the bill?s manager called ?bumps in the process.?

The House earlier passed similar legislation, but it failed to meet a deadline in the Senate. So the House passed House File 2483 on a 95-0 vote. The earlier version was approved 97-0.

?This bill is our second chance to revive the managed care provisions and hopefully get this to the governor?s desk,? Rep. Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant, said.

The bill makes a statement ?to the Department of Human Services, to the citizens out there who are being served by these managed care organizations, to the providers, that we feel very strongly in doing what we can to provide oversight over the process of this privatized Medicaid approach that has created so many bumps in the process and taken up so much of our time,? Heaton said.

HF 2483 addresses the timeliness of Medicaid payments, denial reasoning, credentialing, prior authorizations, appeals, level of care determinations and a small claims audit, Heaton explained.

An analysis by the Legislative Services Agency after passage of the first attempt, HF 2462, showed its cost would be $4.7 million. However, Heaton and others who worked on the bill found ways to reduce it to $1.55 million.

The difference will

be addressed in the Medicaid budget, said Heaton, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee.

The changes approved Monday decrease guaranteed court-order treatment time from five days to three before medical necessity criteria is applied, he said. That accounts for a 40 percent decrease in the cost, but still allows for treatment over a long weekend. Heaton said.

Heaton encouraged House members to ?contact your senators and ask them to support what we?ve passed out of here.?

Legislation that would exempt some boards from a gender and political party balance requirement and another to change the way county supervisors are elected did not fare as well.

HF 2372, which would change the redistricting process for some county boards of supervisors, was approved largely on a party-line vote, 54-41.

The bill, back for another vote after it was revised in the Senate, requires any county with more than 60,000 people to use a plan that requires residents to choose a candidate who also lives in the district, with districts based on population. The districts would be drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, which draws maps for legislative and congressional districts.

Iowa has 10 counties that exceed the population limit. If the measure were to become law, no supervisor in those counties could be elected countywide.

Although Iowa?s two most populous counties ? Polk and Linn ? already elect supervisors from within districts, those maps are not drawn by the state.

An argument over maintaining gender and political balance flared Monday during a debate over a change in the membership requirements for workforce

development boards.

Senate File 2353 would remove the requirement that the boards be exempt from state law requiring gender and political party affiliation balance on state boards.

?We want to remain a fair and balanced state,? Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, D-Cedar Rapids, said while explaining her amendment to maintain the gender and political party balance. Removing the requirement for the local workforce boards would be the start down a slippery slope toward removing the requirement for other boards, she argued.

However, her amendment failed 41-54 on a party-line vote. The bill was approved 88-7.

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