Bob Kressig Newsletter July 20, 2019

Bob Kressig Newsletter

July 20, 2019

Greetings to you all,

The weather is going to be very warm this week. The National Weather Service in Des Moines has issued an Excessive Heat Warning, which is in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 PM CDT Saturday. Stay safe and stay cool.

I’m riding out to the start of Ragbrai this week and will be riding Ragbrai next week. The route starts in Council Bluffs and ends in Keokuk. Should be a great time to celebrate Iowa history with Ragbrai.

I was very disappointed that the majority party chose to not conduct a legislative study committee to come up with improvements to the medical cannabis program here in Iowa. Hopefully the legislature will move forward with much needed improvements to the medical cannabis program.

We learned there were new contracts signed with the out-of-state, for-profit companies (MCO’s) managing the state’s Medicaid program. The new contracts include a raise of 8.6% and will cost Iowa taxpayers another $115 million this year without any guarantees the additional money will go to improve care for patients or pay Iowa providers what they are already owed by the MCO’s.

For the last several years, the public and taxpayers have watched as privatized Medicaid has failed our state. On top of the huge raises for MCO’s this year, the companies received an 8.4% raise just last year.  Those two raises total $730 million in just the last two years and the increases in Iowa are over double the increases for Medicaid nationally.

The unexpected raise for out of state companies is just the latest sign that the GOP politicians in Des Moines have the wrong budget priorities.

I believe the state budget should be prioritized to work for everyday Iowan including expanding access to affordable health care for those most vulnerable Iowans.

In good news, according to the Iowa Dept. of Public Health, opioid related deaths in Iowa are the lowest in the last decade. I’m proud of the legislature record to increase access to treatment of opioid addiction.

As always, the Iowa Legislature’s webpage,, has a great amount of information for you to read. In addition to reading bills and finding out what’s happening in the House or Senate on any given day, you can now listen to or watch our debates live, when we are in session. I currently serve on five committees for this session: Commerce, Local Government, Public Safety, Environmental Protection, and the Economic Development Budget Sub Committee.

Please check out all my other information and pictures from the current session on my website In addition to listening posts and forums, you can also reach me by email anytime or call me at home at 319-266-9021. We can also stay connected through social media, including FacebookTwitter and YouTube. I appreciate hearing from you and I thank you for your continued support.

Thank you for taking the time to read the Statehouse News. Please keep in touch!

Upcoming Community Events

16-21 2019 Iowa State Shoot – Iowa State Trapshooting Association Cedar Falls Gun Club
17-21 Beauty and the Beast Hope Martin Theatre, Wed – Sat 7pm; Sun 2pm, 291-4494
18 Party on the Patio – Amelia and Melinda Hearst Center, 5pm, 273-8641
18 Waterloo Municipal Band Concert RiverLoop Amphitheater, 7:30pm, 273-2118
18-21 Waterloo Open Golf Classic Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course, 234-9271
18-21 Sturgis Youth Theatre Presents “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” Strayer-Wood Theatre, Thu 7pm; Fri 10:30am; Sat & Sun 2pm, 273-6381
19 Live to 9 – Snozzberries Sturgis Park, 6pm, 273-8636
19 Cinema on the Cedar: The Greatest Showman RiverLoop Amphitheater, 8pm, 291- 2038
19-20 BBQ’Loo & Blues Too Lincoln Park, Fri 5:30- 9:30pm; Sat 11am-9:30pm291-2038
20 Iowa Shrine Bowl All-Star Football Classic and Parade parade at 9:30am on Main St, football game at 4pm in the UNI-Dome, 493- 5371
20 Friends Presents Abby & Travis Turpin with the Dakota Street Band *GBPAC, 7pm, 273- 7469
20-21 Waterloo Bucks vs. La Crosse Loggers Riverfront Stadium, 232-0500
21 “Salon Romantique” Chamber Music Concert Diamond Event Center, 3pm, 215-5885
22-23 Waterloo Bucks vs. St. Cloud Rox Riverfront Stadium, 232-0500

News from the Statehouse

Republican Leaders Block Action on Medical Cannabis

After Governor Reynolds vetoed a bi-partisan bill to fix Iowa’s medical cannabis law to help more Iowans, Republican leaders in the House and Senate rejected a proposal from Democratic lawmakers last week to find a solution before the Legislature convenes again in January.

In June, Democrat lawmakers called to convene a special session to override the Governor’s veto, but it was rejected by Republican leaders.  In another attempt, a proposal was brought forward to form a special committee during the legislative interim to study potential expansion of Iowa’s medical cannabis program, hear directly from Iowa constituents, and find consensus on a bill that wouldn’t be vetoed.  The goal was to find a solution that would be ready the first week of session to help Iowans who are suffering from debilitating conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.  However, the proposal was rejected by Republican leadership.

Last session, the Iowa Legislature passed a bipartisan medical cannabis expansion bill that would have eliminated the current potency cap and instead limit the amount prescribed to Iowa patients. The Governor unexpectedly vetoed the bill at the last minute, claiming the cap removal was “too much”.

According to a recent Des Moines register poll, 78-percent of Iowans support medical marijuana expansion.

Reynolds Gives Large Raise to Medicaid Privatization Fiasco

Despite recent turmoil, the Reynolds Administration agreed to give two for-profit companies managing the state’s Medicaid program an 8.6% raise next year.  The latest raise, which totals $386 million, was approved without any guarantee the additional money will go to providers or patients.

Since Medicaid privatization began in 2016, Iowans have been systematically denied critical care and have had their services severely reduced or cut altogether. Providers have had to close their doors, or have stopped taking Medicaid patients altogether because the for-profit companies, called Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), are not paying them.

The 8.6% raise comes on top of a huge $344 million raise (8.4%) the MCO’s received last year.  Many Iowans have expressed concerns about Medicaid privatization since many members are still receiving worse care while the for-profit companies have received more money.  The huge raises are also significantly higher than increases given before privatization began and more than double the increases for Medicaid nationally.

Earlier this year, one of the MCO’s, UnitedHealthcare, announced they were leaving Iowa and left 425,000 Iowans scrambling to pick another MCO for their health care.  Just a few weeks ago, Governor Reynolds forced the Director of Human Services to resign without explanation.

Medicaid provides health care to 600,000 Iowans, including those in nursing homes.  According to recent estimates, about 70% of Medicaid dollars are used for the elderly, severely disabled, and poor. Because this affects our most vulnerable population, it is imperative we understand the true impact privatization is having on our state.

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