Governor, Lt. Governor Hold Town Hall Meeting

Written by on May 3, 2013 in News

The Governor and Lt. Governor were in Mt. Pleasant this morning for a town hall meeting at the Henry County extension office. Governor Branstad began by saying he and Lt. Governor Reynolds had made a promise to visit all 99 counties each year and give an update on how things were going in Des Moines. He reported this morning that his team had worked hard to get the state’s financial house in order and that Iowa is in the best financial condition in modern history. He said he has a bold agenda focused on job creation, property tax relief, education and health. Reynolds talked about education reform and returning Iowa to best in the nation status and making sure everyone was career or college ready. She said Iowa needs an educated, talented workforce. The governor echoed her words saying business and industry will want to come here if we offer the best and brightest. Branstad also said Iowa is turning out lots of doctors but no one stays in the state to complete a residency or start a practice. He’s willing to commit 2 million dollars to support additional medical residencies. Some sort of re-imbursement for medical school expenses is also something the governor supports as a way to attract and retain health care professionals. Teacher compensation and career advancement are other areas where education needs reform. Following their comments, the pair answered questions from the audience. HCHC CEO Robb Gardner expressed his concern about Branstad’s Healthy Iowa Plan which would rely on Accountable care organizations and the affect these would have on small hospitals. Either Medicaid expansion or Branstad’s plan would replace IowaCare, a limited health-benefits plan for the poor. The biggest complaint about IowaCare is that its participants must travel to Iowa City or Des Moines for most hospital services. Gardner has been concerned this will someday eliminate small rural hospitals like HCHC. However, Reynolds said the governor’s plan would require that all participants have primary care providers within 30 miles or 30 minutes travel. Most would have providers available much closer than that.

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