BRANSTAD PLAN: Lacking Widespread Support

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Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has been talking for months about his plan to offer health insurance for lower income Iowans. Late Thursday afternoon, his plan finally became public. The proposal came in the form of a 22-page proposal.

Here are some highlights:

It covers approximately 89,000 additional Iowans between the ages of 19 and 64 who make less than 100% of the federal poverty rate.

Recipients would have to pay monthly contributions to their insurance premiums that would not exceed 5% of their incomes.

Those who make less than 50% of the federal poverty rate wouldn't pay anything toward their monthly premiums.

Those who make between 50 and 100% of the federal poverty rate could reduce their monthly contributions if they agree to take part in a wellness program.

Democrats complain the governor's plan covers fewer Iowans but would cost more state dollars because their alternative of Medicaid expansion, as part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, would receive more federal dollars. Branstad's potential 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Jack Hatch, sent out a news release criticizing the plan.

It said: “This plan is nothing more than a political bargaining chip to hide the current Governor’s failed executive leadership on health care.  This bill does too little for too few Iowans at too great a cost.  The Governor’s approach leaves out more than 70,000 Iowans, asking them to buy into the insurance exchange at premiums they can’t afford.  To the young woman with a mental health issue, or the 55-year old waiting for Medicare to start, the Governor’s offer is nothing."