Tag: Governor Reynolds

New Iowa health care disaster approaches: End of hawk-i

State of Iowa facing millions more in costs while kicking 44,000 children off health insurance

DES MOINES  –  Iowa’s outstanding health insurance for children is at risk due to the Congressional failure to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Without federal action, the state of Iowa faces millions more in costs even though 44,000 fewer children would be insured.

State Senator Nate Boulton of Des Moines, a board member for Iowa’s nationally praised hawk-i children’s health insurance program, called for “swift

, firm, united action” after the organization’s Monday board meeting.

“This crisis affects families in every county of this state.  This is an ‘all hands on deck’ moment for Iowa’s elected leaders,” said Boulton.  “In January, the Legislature should immediately approve a resolution officially requesting that Congress reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Then, we should all be urging Governor Reynolds to travel to D.C. to make that case to the House, the Senate, and President Trump.”

On September 30th, Congress failed to reauthorize CHIP for the first time in the nearly 30 years of the program’s existence.

There are two components to hawk-i, Iowa’s version of CHIP.  One covers the 16,000 Iowa kids enrolled in Medicaid expansion.  They are the lucky ones in that they will continue to have health insurance for at least the next two years.  However, without a federal reauthorization of CHIP funding, Iowa’s state budget will be required to cover the shortfall.  That will mean additional costs of $10 to $15 million per year to Iowa’s already troubled state budget.

Things are much worse for the 44,000 Iowa children enrolled in Iowa’s nationally-recognized hawk-i program.  Those children will lose their health insurance completely when funding runs out, something that is expected to happen this February.

“We need swift, firm, united action to prevent a children’s health care crisis in Iowa,” Boulton said. “It’s this simple: If CHIP isn’t reauthorized, 44,000 fewer children in our state will have access to the high quality health care hawk-i provides.”

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“2018 session poses threat to Iowa retirees”


(Des Moines) Today two Iowa Statehouse leaders today expressed concern that the 2018 legislative session could bring sudden, unnecessary changes to Iowa’s pension system. The two said the changes would harm Iowa public employees and communities where they live.

“IPERS and Iowa’s other public pension plans are secure, strong, and sustainable. Some current legislative proposals to change IPERS could break the promise we have made to hard working Iowans since 1953,” said Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald. “The retirement contributions Iowa workers have made to these funds have been invested well and the benefits are reasonable. There is no need to make the type of changes Governor Reynolds and Senate Republicans are talking about.”

“Last year, Iowa made national news when state Republicans tore up long established collective bargaining laws in a little over a week,” said Senator Matt McCoy of Des Moines, a member of the Iowa Legislature’s Public Retirement Systems Committee and a nonvoting member of the IPERS Investment Board. “Legislation to blow up IPERS, Senate File 45, was introduced last year. It could be voted on during the 2018 session. Just last July, the Senate’s second ranking Republican, Senator Charles Schneider, brought in a right-wing think tank to tell Iowans to replace our successful, stable retirement systems like IPERS with more risky Wall Street-based schemes.”

Senate File 45 would begin to dismantle IPERS and other Iowa public retirement programs by preventing new Iowa workers from joining the programs on or after July 1, 2019. The existing retirement programs would be replaced by more risky defined contribution plans run by Wall Street traders instead of Iowa’s current non-profit managers.

In 2017, Governor Reynolds said several times that she supported a task force to propose changes to IPERS. She later dropped that idea but continued to express support for privatizing IPERS, including supporting the July meeting sponsored by Senator Schneider and the Reason Foundation

“Families, neighbors, and communities see the impact when money from IPERS is reinvested all throughout Iowa. These proposed changes, from the same legislators who earlier this year gutted collective bargaining rights for hardworking Iowans, could destabilize IPERS and negatively impact every community in Iowa,” said Treasurer Fitzgerald.

“Given how Republicans have been governing, every Iowan affected directly or indirectly by IPERS will be holding their breath until the 2018 session adjourns,” McCoy said.

On December 18, the Iowa Legislature’s “Public Retirement Systems Committee” will evaluates Iowa’s public retirement systems, including Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS), the Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa (Iowa Code chapter 411), the Department of Public Safety Peace Officers’ Retirement System (PORS), and the Judicial Retirement System.

-end-

Links to news reports on Governor Reynolds’ support for changing Iowa’s public retirement systems:

Reynolds: Iowa task force will study IPERS changes
Mason City Globe Gazette 1/26/17
http://globegazette.com/news/iowa/reynolds-iowa-task-force-will-study-ipers-changes/article_211d1ad4-4030-580a-ba5b-3414f63826e9.html

Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds told a group in Scott County on Thursday a task force will be formed to study the possibility of long-term changes to IPERS, the retirement system for public employees in the state.

Branstad calls IPERS’ changes ‘prudent’ to shore up statewide pension fund
Des Moines Register, 3/27/17

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/27/branstad-calls-ipers-changes-prudent-shore-up-statewide-pension-fund/99686464/

Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who are both Republicans, have said that commitments already made to state and local government workers will be honored, but a state task force will review possible long-term changes to Iowa public employees’ pension programs. Among key changes that will be studied will be whether to offer a 401(k)-style plan.

Reynolds backs IPERS study, but task force is dropped
Des Moines Register, July 18, 2017 https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2017/07/18/reynolds-backs-ipers-study-but-task-force-dropped/487913001/

Reynolds noted that Sen. Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines, is currently heading an interim committee’s study of Iowa’s public employees’ pension funds. The work is being conducted in cooperation with the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based libertarian think tank.

“I support his efforts in doing that,” Reynolds said.

PDF of Senate File 45:
https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/LGI/87/SF45.pdf

Special Session Not Likely To Deal With State’s Money Mess

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The state of Iowa hasn't paid its bills from last year. It didn't have the money. The issue isn't new. A plan is now coming.

Governor Kim Reynolds has faced questions for months on how she would deal with the financial problem. On Tuesday morning she announced that her administration will announce on Wednesday what it plans to do.

"Tomorrow (Wednesday) my department of management and revenue are finalizing the numbers, and they will do an update tomorrow (Wednesday) to the media and they will provide all of that information to you tomorrow," Reynolds told reporters.

Will the governor be there? "I won't be at the media update," she responded.

Department of Management Director Dave Roederer and Department of Revenue Director Courtney Kay-Decker will handle the budget briefing Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and announce whether the governor will need to call lawmakers back into a special session to authorize borrowing tens of millions of dollars from state reserves.

Both directors track day-to-day finances of the state. Insiders tell Channel 13 it is unlikely the governor will call lawmakers back into special session. Instead, she could use her authority to transfer up to $50 million from state reserves and then use some type of accounting measures to make up for the rest of the shortfall.

The governor's public schedule shows she will be in six rural Iowa towns on Wednesday, instead of at the State Capitol for the announcement about the much-anticipated blueprint for how to handle the budget shortfall.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour AgriVison Equipment

58668 190th St.

Pacific Junction, IA

8 a.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Water quality best practices farm tour

4077 180th St.

Shenandoah, IA

9:30 a.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour of IWCC CEAM Program, H&H Trailers & MHI

923 E Washington St.

Clarinda, IA

11:15 a.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour downtown Bedford

419 Main St.

Bedford, IA

1 p.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Economy” event

Tour Dragoon Trace Nature Center

2434 IA-2

Mt. Ayr, IA

2:30 p.m.

 

Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg hold “Building a Better Iowa: Education” event

Visit Graceland University

1 University Pl.

Lamoni, IA

4 p.m.

The governor did not say why she couldn't hold the budget announcement on Thursday when she is scheduled to be in Des Moines during the day and could deliver the plan herself.

Governor Says Sale of Cedar Rapids Business Could Benefit Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa  --  Governor Reynolds says the sale of Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins could benefit Iowa.

Rockwell Collins is one of Iowa's biggest employers. United Technologies, based in Connecticut, is acquiring the company for $30 billion, and it will now be called Collins Aerospace Systems.

Governor Reynolds says there is little overlap between the two companies. Rockwell Collins makes interior cabin parts and cockpit technology, while United Technologies makes engines, wheels, and propellers. The governor also says the sale could eventually lead to an expansion of business in Iowa.

The deal still has to be approved by federal regulators.

Governor Signs Ag Proclamation, Supports Equality in Military Service

IOWA  --  Governor Kim Reynolds showed appreciation for agricultural entrepreneurs on Monday morning.

She signed the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Week Proclamation, which is meant to show an appreciation for the impact agricultural entrepreneurs add to the state and Iowa's legacy in helping create world changing technologies, products, and services.

Following Monday morning's signing, reporters asked the governor about her position on President Trump's transgender military ban. Governor Reynolds said anyone willing to serve in the military deserves the nation's respect.

"So less than 1% of Americans today sign up to serve and to defend those liberties and freedoms. And I think that anybody that signs up to serve our country and defend those liberties and freedoms deserves our utmost appreciation and respect," she said.

The governor said she and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst are both in agreement on the issue.