Governor signs health care expansion into law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has signed legislation that expands low-income health care in Iowa.

Branstad signed the bill Thursday in Mason City. The location was selected to acknowledge two lawmakers from the region — Republican House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer and Democratic Sen. Amanda Ragan — who helped broker the final deal.

Branstad says the deal will “increase access to high quality modern health care.”

Under the plan, Iowa will accept federal dollars offered to states that expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. The state will use the funding to create a new health plan for some poor residents and will pay the premiums for other low-income Iowans to get insurance on the new health care exchanges.

Branstad says he’s optimistic the plan will get federal approval.

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