Branstad approves new state oversight of Medicaid program

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad kept intact the entirety of proposed state spending for the upcoming budget year on Friday, also signing into law new oversight of Iowa’s Medicaid program under private management.

Branstad announced his decision on Medicaid oversight amid final action on a number of bills, including several dealing with the state’s $7.35 billion budget that goes into effect in July. Branstad, who has authority to veto policy bills and spending, kept all state dollars negotiated by the split Legislature.

While he vetoed some portions of the health and human services bill, the Republican left alone language that adds more state oversight to Medicaid, the program that provides health care to about 560,000 poor and disabled residents in the state.

In a message explaining his decision, Branstad said signing off on the oversight meant “Iowa’s Medicaid program will be one of the most transparent, outcome-focused, and accountable programs in the country.”

Branstad’s decision last year to switch Iowa’s roughly $4.2 billion Medicaid program to private management was criticized because it wasn’t approved by the Iowa Legislature.

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