Contact Rep. Phil Miller:
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
902 S. Sunset Dr.
Fairfield, IA 52556
I hope everyone is enjoying this cooler weather and the beautiful fall colors.
Health Care Uncertainty
As you may have been hearing there’s been many updates and changes to our healthcare system in Iowa and around the country.
The federal government announced last month that it would discontinue $29 million used in Iowa to help thousands of Iowa families purchase health insurance on the individual market. We also learned last week that the Governor withdrew an alternative health care plan after President Trump personally intervened and requested the plan be denied. Unfortunately, those developments mean 72,000 Iowans who get health care on the individual marketplace will see premiums rise by 57% next year.
Despite the uncertainty, open enrollment on Iowa’s Health Insurance Marketplace begins on November 1 and ends December 15. Iowans who currently have coverage through the exchange but do not choose a plan for 2018 by the end of open enrollment will automatically be re-enrolled in a similar plan offered by Medica. To review plan options and select an insurance plan, go to www.healthcare.gov.
We also found out this week that the Medicaid privatization plan enacted a few years ago is getting worse, not better. AmeriHealth Caritas, one of the three for-profit companies managing Medicaid, notified Iowa officials that it no longer wants to participate in the controversial project starting November 30. Unfortunately, it means confusion and turmoil for the 215,000 Iowans who use AmeriHealth Caritas today.
If you currently receive your health care through AmeriHealth, you have until November 30 to choose a different company. You can go to www.iahealthlink.gov to get more information. Please let me know if you have any issues and I will do my best to help resolve any problems.
When the session starts in January, I’ll be working to make health care more affordable and accessible for every Iowan, especially those in rural communities like ours. It’s time to work together to find some solutions to this health care mess.
Cover Crops to Improve Iowa’s Water Quality
Last month, I attended the Iowa Environmental Council Annual Meeting in Ankeny. I was particularly struck by the information regarding the importance of cover crops in Iowa. A Pella area farmer spoke about positive improvements to his soil while using cover crops. Cover crops such as cereal rye, clover, oats and winter wheat are planted temporarily to protect the ground from wind and water erosion and supply living roots to the soil. Farmers typically plant cover crops in the fall, which prevents soil erosion over the winter and soaks up nitrogen and phosphorus during heavy rains in the spring preventing runoff into our rivers and streams.
In Iowa, there are over $10.5 million dollars available for conservation practices statewide from the Water Quality Initiative by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). These funds are available to help farmers try new practices targeted at protecting water quality. The water quality practices under this grant program include 109,415 acres of cover crops. A 2016 survey indicated that 80% of cover crop applicants indicated they are planning to continue the use of cover crops as a conservation practice.
Other meetings I attended last month included, a multi county meeting regarding Iowa’s Regional Mental Health Parity. We are facing many challenges on the need for better mental health care in Iowa.
I also toured a local school district with another legislator. We spoke to the superintendent about the increased cost for transportation in rural districts. Former Representative Curt Hanson introduced legislation in the past to improve this inequity. I plan to do the same.
I’ve heard from so many of you since I took office in August. To the right is my contact information and you can contact me via email, Facebook, mail, or phone.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the Iowa House. I look forward to hearing from you.
State Representative Phil Miller
Veterans Day--A Time to Remember Our Veterans
Veterans Day is Saturday, November, 11 and there are many ceremonies being held across the state to honor those who have served our country. First recognized in 1919, the date commemorates the end of fighting in World War I when an armistice took effect between the Allied nations and Germany at 11 am on November 11, 1918.
As part of the numerous events honoring veterans across Iowa, the annual Veterans Day Program in Des Moines will be held on November 11, 2017 at the Iowa Events Center at 11:00 a.m. This event is open to the public and will include representatives from all Veterans Service Organizations.
Last session, the Legislature passed various bills to help Iowa’s veterans and those still serving. One important bill ensured that equal military leave, nondiscrimination and reemployment rights are given to a National Guard member of another state if they work in Iowa, and helped to streamline and simplify the process of serving for Guard members.
A full list of Veterans Day events statewide is available at: https://va.iowa.gov/.
Iowans Overwhelmingly Vote to Keep Union Representation
Teachers, nurses, law enforcement officials, and snowplow drivers were among the 93% of Iowa public employee unions who voted to recertify their local union in October.
After Republicans passed legislation last session to take away the voice of Iowans in their own workplace and severely restrict public employee unions, it was the first time bargaining units were forced to vote on re-certification under new stringent regulations.
Despite the new barriers, working Iowans voted overwhelmingly to keep their union representation. In the elections, 28,447 people voted to keep their organization and just 624 voted to de-certify. 4,043 did not participate, which is considered a “no” vote under the new law.
Under the new regulations, the public employee union must hold a recertification election every year or two before bargaining a new contract. Additionally, Republicans changed the rules from the vote of the majority participating in the election to the majority of bargaining unit. Non-participation in the election effectively becomes a “no” vote.
Marketplace Open Enrollment Begins
The federal open enrollment period for plans available on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace has begun. Iowans looking for individual health insurance for 2018 have from November 1st until December 15th to find and select a plan. Unfortunately, due to Wellmark and Aetna no longer offering plans, there is only one provider available, Medica.
In 2017, around 72,000 Iowans found health insurance coverage through the marketplace. Iowans below 400% of the federal poverty level, which is $48,240 for a single adult, is available for subsidies to reduce monthly premiums. The majority of Iowans that selected plans on the marketplace were eligible for subsidies.
Iowans that currently have coverage through the exchange but do not choose a plan for 2018 by the end of open enrollment; they will be re-enrolled in a similar plan offered by Medica. To review plan options and select an insurance plan, go to www.healthcare.gov.
Continue Reading the Statehouse News
Secretary of State Public Hearing, Leaves Public Out
Future Ready Iowa Recommendations
Medical Cannabidiol Board Continues Discussion on Form and Quantity
Department of Agriculture Seeks Significant Budget Increase
Military Records Now Have Greater Access
To read the rest of my Statehouse News go to:http://iowahouse.org/StatehouseNews/11-1-17