I have spent some time door knocking this year and have heard from several constituents that health care is becoming unaffordable and inaccessible to many. The interesting point on this issue it doesn’t necessarily follow social demographics. One might think that the poor and middle class are the only ones having trouble with healthcare, but many upper-middle class are finding that their health care needs are dependent on Insurance companies decisions.
During the 2007 session, Legislators established a bi-partisan committee called the Commission on Affordable Health Care for Small Businesses and Families. This commission is to review, analyze and make recommendations to the Legislature on how to provide affordable and accessible healthcare for all Iowans. The Commission has adopted a series of principles to guide their work.
1. Coverage and care should be universal or near universal
2. Coverage should be affordable and take into account all healthcare costs
3. Everyone should have a medical home
4. Healthcare should be accessible
5. Financing should be a shared responsibility
6. Reforms should drive quality improvements and contain costs
7. Reforms should do no harm
8. Reforms must be sustainable
In order to gather ideas, the Commission has asked former Governors Terry Branstad (Republican) and Tom Vilsack (Democrat) to host three public hearings around Iowa. The first was held in Council Bluffs. The second will be held in Indianola on September 26 and in Bettendorf on September 27.
The Commission is also holding its own meetings across the state, including one in Iowa City on September 19, Sioux City on October 17, Dubuque on November 14, and Des Moines on December 19. In addition, the Commission has created a Health Care Survey (or blog) with a different question each month. The survey can be found at www.legis.state.ia.us and then click on Health Care Survey.
Iowans who wish to help the commission with its work should attend one of the public hearings or commission meetings, or contact me and I will forward information to the commission as is deliberates. The goal is to have recommendation ready for the 2008 session of the Iowa Legislature.