Guest opinion: ACA needs work, but privatized Medicaid is not the fix

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We’re at a crossroads with healthcare, and our next move is crucial.

We’re at a crossroads with health care, and our next move is crucial.

In February, President Trump said, “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” However, I’d argue the opposite — so many American people know that understanding the health-care system is not easy. People are aware that the system is complex, might not even have complete knowledge of their own health-care plans, and do not understand how certain elements in the system work with one another. With the recent attempt to pass the American Health Care Act and the news that Iowa will bail out the Managed Care Organizations in Iowa, people are paying attention. Thousands of Iowans can rejoice over the killed Republican plan, but the future of health care in Iowa is still uncertain.

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There were, and still are, countless critics of the privatization of Medicaid, and in the eyes of many, it is just as they predicted — a failure. There are numerous reports of providers not being paid by the state, and that is not an incentive for providers to come work in the state. There is a national shortage of providers as it is, and if they’re not going to get paid to work here, they’ll find somewhere else to go. The managed-care groups said the number of poor Iowans they would ultimately end up serving was grossly underestimated, indicating that there are more people who need help from Medicaid than one would imagine. If the privatization of Medicaid continues to fail, it could be detrimental to the health of Iowa’s vulnerable populations, and that is extremely concerning.

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As a social worker, my worldview may be a little bit different than most, and in my ideal world, the United States would switch to a single-payer model. It is obvious that the Affordable Care Act does need fixing and that the privatization of Medicaid in Iowa is not working. I would love to see us take the same direction that so many other countries have successfully taken in order to provide health care to all.

Samantha Mestan

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