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Legislative update from Senator Amanda Ragan



This news story was published on July 14, 2017.
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Senator Amanda Ragan

The following is a legislative update from Senator Amanda Ragan:

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD ON HEALTH CARE CHANGES

Our U.S. Senators in Washington are working on big changes to our country’s health care system. Their latest plan would cover fewer Iowans, cost more money and provide less health care.

Iowans want health care we can afford and that covers things we need, but Congress is talking about:

· Nixing an initiative that has helped more than 150,000 Iowans get health insurance.

· Hurting thousands of kids who rely on our children’s health insurance program at a time when the state has just eliminated funding for children’s hearing aids, vision screening and autism treatment.

· Limiting options for low-income Iowans by banning Planned Parenthood from being reimbursed through Medicaid for health care services. That means fewer health care providers to choose from when we already have a shortage.

Make your voice heard on the major changes Washington is proposing for Iowa health care. Call the U.S. Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and share your thoughts with Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley. They work for you, so your opinion matters.

IOWA MUST ACT TO PROTECT VULNERABLE KIDS

More children like Sabrina Ray and Natalie Finn will suffer if we don’t get moving on changes to better protect kids under state care.

On June 5, the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee met to consider how and why Iowa has failed these children. The official hearing was called following the starvation death of a second Iowa girl adopted out of foster care and into an unregulated “homeschool” setting.
Some of my Senate colleagues on the Government Oversight Committee say what they learned at that hearing warrants further investigation by the committee, changes in state policy and restored funding to better protect kids at risk of abuse. They submitted recommendations to committee leaders last month calling for:

1. Continued oversight: The Legislature relies on its investigative arm to get to the bottom of problems in state government and how to fix them. The Iowa Department of Human Services has hired an out-of-state consultant to help review its child protective system, but Iowans deserve an independent analysis from the Government Oversight Committee.

2. Changes at DHS: Child protective workers must be able to freely discuss their concerns and ideas for improvements without fear of retaliation. Checks and balances should be in place to ensure case plans are reviewed and follow-up on reports of abuse.

3. Better budget and policy priorities: We must prevent further budget cuts to DHS child protective services and get them the funding they need to maintain manageable caseloads; require foster care children to attend school; and require homeschooled kids to register yearly with the Department of Education and have an annual physical exam.

All children deserve the chance to grow up in safe and loving homes. We must make changes to prevent any more kids from suffering.

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