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MASON CITY, IA – This new law is all about compromise.
Governor Terry Branstad signed the Health and Wellness Plan Bill into law at the Mason City Clinic Thursday morning.
“Up until the end of the session very few people believed this could really come together, and that we would actually get a bipartisan agreement. That we would have a bill signing of this magnitude,” said Branstad.
Governor Terry Branstad says he’s proud of the bipartisan work that happened at the statehouse this session.
And while the proof is in the new law, it’s also seen in these two women.
House Republican Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer worked side by side with Democrat State Senator Amanda Ragan.
“Well I think it makes a difference when two legislators know each other when you’re from the same area. We were elected about the same time and we both have chaired the Human Resource Committees and so we’ve been very involved in Human Services and the budget’s our entire legislative career,” said Upmeyer.
“Work together you see good things on both sides of the legislation. You’ll see how we can work to expand on those instead of saying those are things we can’t even go near,” said Ragan.
But the real focus is on who this legislation will impact.
Senator Ragan says this should be a relief for many Iowans with little to no healthcare.
“I think the fact that a 150,000 Iowans will now have access to affordable and accessible and that healthcare plus the delivery system is going to be more accessible to them that’s the biggest part of this,” said Ragan.
“This system will mean that people stay in one system of care, so it’s not fragmented,” said Upmeyer.
That new system will expand Medicaid to low-income Iowans, and Governor Branstad says he hopes this will increase the number of Iowans on private insurance.
The Governor also tells us that signing this bill into law, is a day he’ll never forget.
“I’ve always believed in our work as leaders and legislatures are all about the art of the possible and the willingness to try to find a win-win situation. Most important something that’s a win for our constituents,” said Governor Branstad.
There were also some controversial parts of the bill that the Governor commented on.
When it comes to Medicaid patients seeking an abortion, the Governor says under certain circumstances, he will decide how the payment for the abortion is covered; if the hospital or state taxpayers will help pay the cost.
While this is in a way an expansion of Medicaid, it is different in several key aspects like making sure those who use the plan get regular checkups and follow doctors’ orders or pay a penalty.
For that reason it needs to be approved by the federal government.