Iowa House approves low-income health plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Republican-majority Iowa House has approved Gov. Terry Branstad’s health care proposal for low-income Iowa residents, setting up a battle with the Democratic-controlled Senate, which favors a Medicaid expansion.

In a 51-49 vote Tuesday, the House approved legislation for the “Healthy Iowa” plan. The plan revamps an existing program for low-income residents and would provide coverage to an estimated 89,000 people with incomes at or below the poverty line using state and federal dollars.

Branstad opposes the Medicaid expansion permitted under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, saying the long-terms costs are unsustainable. House Republicans said Branstad’s proposal would be a better move for the state.

But Democratic lawmakers argued that a Medicaid expansion would cover more people and cost the state less.

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