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Siouxland Public Media, 4:04 Newscast

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As negotiations with an Iowa Medicaid insurer breakdown, the state’s senior U.S. Senator says he’s supporting the governor. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the privatization of Iowa’s Medicaid system is a state decision. 

Late Friday, UnitedHealthcare announced it’s leaving Iowa Medicaid. It’s the second company to bail since 2016 when the state stopped running the insurance program for poor and disabled residents.  Governor Kim Reynolds says negotiations broke down because the company opposed certain accountability standards. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says she made the right choice.

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“I think I’ve concluded that Reynolds is right to be tough, to push these insurance plans to focus on quality and value for Iowans, and UnitedHealth didn’t want to do that.”

But the company disputes that. According to the Des Moines Register, a UnitedHealthcare executive says the state wasn’t providing enough funding to keep the program afloat.

An Iowa House subcommittee is advancing a bill that outlines when a worker should be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

That’s currently decided according to rules from the state Department of Workforce Development. Nicole Crain of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry supports putting the rules in the law.

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We do think that would be a positive step forward. As we know, administrative rules can change.

But the proposal goes beyond the current rules. For instance, it calls dishonesty a form of worker misconduct. Several union representatives argued that’s too vague a term, and if it becomes law companies could use it against former workers. The bill now goes to the House Commerce Committee. It already passed in the Senate.

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