Oskaloosa.com

March 23, 2013

Medicaid expansion discussed at Eggs & Issues

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Medicaid expansion was a top topic at Eggs & Issues Saturday morning.

Legislators on hand to discuss this and other issues included Republican State Sen. Ken Rozenboom and State House Republican Larry Sheets.

At the onset of Saturday’s meeting, Rozenboom said the Medicaid expansion issue is a “huge decision for Iowa.” Rozenboom said the Medicaid issue will take center stage in the Iowa Senate on Monday.

“It’s a discussion that we need to have,” said Rozenboom.

Jay Christensen, CEO of Mahaska Health Partnership, brought up Medicaid expansion during the question and answer portion of Saturday’s meeting.

After Christensen spoke, Rozenboom said an important piece of the Medicaid expansion argument is deteriorating health in Iowa. Rozenboom also talked of the dynamic between personal accountability and public policy.

Rozenboom also asked those attending Saturday’s Eggs & Issues to show how many were or were not in favor of Medicaid expansion by a show of hands.

Rozenboom said that legislators do not have to make their decision on Medicaid expansion on Monday.

“I guess, to me, to make the right decision is more important than making a hurried decision,” said Rozenboom.

Sheets said he didn’t think there would be any “kick backs.”

Christensen said he believed there would be a “walk away clause” in the Medicaid expansion bill to be debated.

Sheets said the federal government would have to agree to that.

Rozenboom also discussed the Healthy Iowa Plan, which he said is designed to “implement personal responsibility mechanisms.”

“I think it needs to be part of the debate,” Rozenboom said.

During the question and answer portion of Saturday’s meeting, Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt asked Rozenboom and Sheets about any progress on property tax reform.

Sheets said he couldn’t claim any progress had taken place on property tax reform. Rozenboom said he hadn’t seen a lot of movement on this issue.

In his introductory statements, Sheets congratulated local students who played various stringed instruments at the state capital this past Wednesday.

Sheets noted that he’s been trying to look at ways to cut back on taxes while working in the Iowa House. In particular, he’s been looking into property tax relief, said Sheets. Income taxes have also been examined, noted Sheets.

The idea of keeping taxes they way they are now versus a four and 1/2 percent flat tax was also discussed by Sheets Saturday.

Sheets talked of a responsible education bill, as well.

Rozenboom also thanked local students for performing music at the capital this past Wednesday. He then noted the quality time the Mahaska Community Development Group spent with key legislators on that day.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.