Study finds patients happy with Iowa’s Medicaid program – The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines

Iowa received the second-highest score in the nation for patient satisfaction with management of the state’s Medicaid program, according to a report last week from the J.D. Power consumer insights organization.

The study surveyed 2,145 managed Medicaid health plan members in 36 states and Washington, D.C., from January to March. The study measured overall satisfaction based on six factors: provider choice, coverage and benefits, customer service, cost, information and communication and claims processing.

“Iowa, Tennessee, Arizona and Indiana have the easiest access to doctors and hospitals, compared with the other states included in the study,” it reported.

Iowa scored highest in the total ratings, trailing only Utah. The study reported that Iowa received a score of 859 out of a possible 1,000, although it did not say what questions were asked or how the scores were tallied.

A spokesman for J.D. Power did not respond to a request for comment.

Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad shifted management of the state’s $5 billion Medicaid program to three private health care companies, saying it would save tens of millions of dollars.

Republicans say the transition has been a success, touting individual success stories.

Democrats, though, have criticized the move, saying it has not saved money as planned and caused frustrations for many patients and providers who have complained about not being paid on time.

The three companies hired to oversee the program that serves some of the state’s most vulnerable residents say that so far, they are losing tens of millions.

One of the most vocal critics of the transition, state Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Robins, frequently met with stakeholders during the transition’s first year.

“I think we need to know what is driving up the numbers for the managed care organizations,” she said in March. “And then concentrate how to come to terms with that so we can keep quality services and control costs.”

Prediction: GOP will lose governors

Using past midterm elections as a predictor, the Crystal Ball predicts Republicans will suffer a net loss in governors in the 2018 elections.

The Crystal Ball is produced by the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Republicans currently control 36 gubernatorial seats, and 26 are up for election in 2018.

The president’s party has lost gubernatorial seats in 14 of the past 18 midterm elections, according to the Crystal Ball’s report. The report predicts the number of governors the GOP will lose based on generic ballot responses in polling (in which respondents are asked generally whether they would support a Republican or Democrat for governor).

The report predicts Republicans will lose anywhere from six gubernatorial seats with a plus-4 generic ballot rating, to nine seats with a negative-8 generic ballot rating.

“We are a long way from November 2018, so national conditions could change,” the report cautions, also noting the quality of candidates obviously will impact outcomes. “Still, Republicans will have so many seats at risk in next year’s gubernatorial elections that they are almost guaranteed to suffer a net loss of seats.”

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government. His email address is erin.murphy@lee.net.

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