House Appropriations Committee Funds Medicaid, Stops Planned Parenthood From Applying for Sex Ed Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A bill to increase funding to the state's Medicaid program is moving forward, but even lawmakers aren't sure if it will be enough.

The bill in question funded Health and Human Services, and as part of that, the state's privatized Medicaid program. They increased the amount of funding to the managed care operators by 54 million dollars but the MCO's haven't told them how much money they'll actually need.

The state is currently in negotiations with the MCO's over how much the managed care will cost the state. Based off of data collected in March, they arrived at an additional 54 million dollars, but some lawmakers speculate it could cost even more.

“I've kinda heard a range could be anywhere from 60 million to 100 million potentially, or more” said Democratic Representative Lisa Heddens.

Republican Representative Dave Heaton, the lawmaker running the bill, says he's been advised that whatever extra it may cost, the state has the money to cover through a special appropriation.  He says they hope to know for sure mid-summer.

“They're hoping that they can have something for us by July 1. We're very concerned about how long it was going to sit there without a decision. We're as anxious as you are” said Heaton.

Heddens says approving funding for something where you don’t know the cost is irresponsible.

“We're looking at maybe having 150-165 million left over going into next year, that leaves things really quite tight. And we know with the farm economy right now, especially with the tariffs going on, it's concerning. Are we still going to generate enough revenue coming in next year? Is that projection going to be lower?” said Heddens.

Meanwhile the bill also removes the ability for Planned Parenthood to apply for state grants for their sex education programs.  However, it does allow hospitals like Unity Point to apply for the exact same grants even though they also provide abortion services. Heddens says it hurts Planned Parenthood simply because of its name.

“Not all the satellites of Unity Point provide abortions, but neither did all of Planned Parenthood, so why is it ok for one entity or not?” asked Heddens.

She asked Representative Heaton that exact same question during debate.

“We're dealing here specifically with hospitals, we're not dealing here with anybody else, and… that’s just the way we're dealing with it” replied Heaton.

The bill passed 14-10 on party lines and goes to the full house for debate. Debate is expected on Friday.