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County to save money on insurance

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 10:35 a.m. CDT

From Karon Finn

Creston

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe is quoted as saying in the National County Association newspaper:

“Whether you’re for or against it (the Affordable Care Act), we have to be ready. The ACA will still leave between 10 and 20 million people uninsured, and caring for the poor ends up being counties’ responsibility.”

Counties’ responsibility? You mean people with mental health who had no funds were taken care of by the counties? You mean taxpayers had to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for uninsured poor people when they had physical or mental illnesses? You mean sometimes they went to their local hospital and were taken care of and the local hospital had to assume the losses?

In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad waited forever before he agreed that Iowa would become part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). He also expanded the lowa health care program for low income citizens. Other states who enthusiastically supported the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare and navigated people into the expanded health program in their state have a much better rate of participation than Iowa.

The expansion of the Iowa health program should be promoted by our local elected officials and our hospitals. It is important to counties because it will reduce the burden of uncompensated care and should be a shot in the arm for local economics and hospitals, freeing up dollars that counties and hospitals could use for other priorities.

Mr. Bernie “Skip” Lowe is the new insurance carrier for Union County. Supervisor Lois Monday and I both asked him to bid for coverage for the employees of Union County. The proposal to go with Lowe was approved by three votes — the supervisors who voted for approving the bid with Mr. Lowe were Lois Monday, Bob Brown and Dennis Brown.

At a meeting the first part of the year, Mr. Lowe stated that because they had made a change in insurance plans, he estimated that Union County had saved a million dollars. A million dollars! Thanks Lois, Bob and Dennis.

After the meeting in the courtroom hall I asked Mr. Lowe whether the ACA (Obamacare) would help the county with their mental health budget. He replied that if enough people signed on to the Iowa health program expansion it should save Union County thousands and thousands of dollars.

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