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Iowa Democrats say healthcare issues continue and ACT scores falling

This news story was published on November 9, 2018.
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The following is a new update released by Iowa Democrats:

Healthcare Issues Continue in Iowa

Every Iowan deserves access to affordable health care. Unfortunately, over the last few years Iowa’s health care system has gotten worse, not better.

Since the GOP privatized Medicaid for 600,000 Iowans, too many Iowans have been denied care and Iowans with disabilities are struggling to get the care they need. Several Iowa health care providers are closing or reducing services due to low rates and denied payments from the for-profit private companies.

Uncertainty and inaction from federal and state leaders on health care the last two years has also left more Iowans without healthcare. From 2016 to 2017, the number of uninsured Iowans nearly doubled from 3.9% to 7.2%, one of highest jumps in the country. Enrollment in Iowa’s health care marketplace dropped 38% from 75,000 in 2016 to just 46,000 this year.

Health care costs continue to rise for Iowans with private health insurance, typically through their employer. Private insurance costs went up annually 5% from 2001 to 2014 and the average annual family premium for employer-based health insurance rose 6% from 2013 to 2016.

Access to health care has also been reduced as GOP lawmakers closed down multiple family planning and health care clinics. The closures left over 14,600 Iowans without health care in their own community for services like, birth control, cancer screenings, and other women’s health services. In fact, a report released by the Department of Human Services (DHS) this month showed that there was a 73% decline of family planning usage due to the closing of these clinics.

Last session, the Governor and Legislature passed Senate File 2349, which allows Iowans to purchase health benefits through Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) plans or health benefit plans. However, many Iowans are concerned that the new benefit plans are allowed to deny coverage to Iowans with pre-existing conditions and charge higher premiums to Iowans who get sick.

Local insurance agents, assisters, and certified application counselors are available to assist Iowans review insurance plans and determine which plan may best fit their needs. Iowans can find local help by visiting or contacting the Iowa Insurance Division at (515) 281-5705.

This healthcare crisis can only be solved by working together to develop bi-partisan solutions that makes Medicaid and health insurance accessible and reliable for all Iowans. This means continuing to expand services in rural Iowa, reinstating the Medicaid Family Planning program, and ending Medicaid privatization.

Iowa Falls Below South Dakota in ACT Scores

ACT test scores of last year have been released and it shows that Iowa has fallen behind number one South Dakota in average composite score with at least 55% of the students taking the test. A contributing factor to this may be school funding. In 2017, Iowa ranked 34th nationally in the percent of expenditures dedicated to K-12 education and is $840 million below the national average.

This is the third year in a row that Iowa high school students’ scores on the ACT have dropped according to data released by ACT based out of Iowa City. Students who took the ACT averaged a comprehensive score of 21.8 out of 36 on the ACT last year. About 68% of Iowa high school students took the ACT. The national average score was 20.8. Iowa’s score was below number one, South Dakota at 21.9.

In key areas of Math and English benchmarks, Iowa has dropped from 48% in 2014 to 44% in 2017 in Math, and 75% to 70% in English. A benchmark is the percentage of students who are college ready. There are 17 states that have 100% of all students take the ACT. Iowa is not one of them, and those states scores have risen. For example in Nebraska, where 100% of high school students take the ACT before they graduate, their average 2017 comprehensive score was 20.1.

Student Health Group Addressing Lead Testing

The Iowa Department of Public Health recommended in 1992 that all children be tested for lead poisoning. It took until 2007 before the Iowa Legislature acted to pass a law for all children entering Kindergarten to have at least one lead test. Yet last school year, 23% of Iowa school children were not matched to a blood test and 96% of Iowa school districts reported data (up 20% from two years prior).

The law has proven effective in increasing the number of students tested and decreasing the number of children with elevated lead in their blood. Homes built before 1978 continue to be the most common source of lead exposure, and Iowa is among the top states for pre-1950 housing where many contain lead paint. Lead can harm a child’s nervous system, be associated with lower IQ, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities.

Now a student health work group is trying to address ways to make the reporting of health data easier on school districts and increase the percent of reported data. This would include immunization requirements, vision, and dental as well as lead screenings. The group will also be looking at reducing the time to report the data and what resources are needed to upgrade or make the reporting process more automated.

The department also has just completed “Lead Poisoning Prevention Week” to decrease childhood exposure. They claim that 60,000 to 70,000 Iowa kids are tested for lead every year and as many as 10% are found to have high lead levels in their bodies.

Fall and Winter Camping in State Parks

Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff has begun to winterize state parks. Water to campgrounds will be turned off and shower houses are closed over winter.

State parks and campgrounds remain open through winter and visitors are encouraged to use the parks. Campers should contact parks directly with questions on water and other closures. Several state parks have cabins open year-round. To reserve a campsite or cabin visit:

Thinking About a Health Sciences Job?

New Report Shows Opportunities in Health Care Jobs

Iowa’s health sciences industry is growing and facing a significant shortage of workers. To build awareness of the wide range high-paying careers in this critical industry, a career pathway resource has been developed to show how students and job seekers can enter and advance in the industry.

Through a series of online surveys and in-person employer focus groups conducted around the state (Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Des Moines, and Sioux City), over 350 health care providers and employers provided direct feedback in the development of the Opportunities in Health Sciences: Iowa career pathways resource. This will help people in developing the personal, technical, and employability skills required for advancement within an industry.

In addition to health sciences, career pathways resources have also been produced for the information in Iowa’s technology, energy, and advanced manufacturing sectors. More information can be found, including links to resources for each sector, on the Department of Education’s website under Sector Partnerships.

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20 Responses to Iowa Democrats say healthcare issues continue and ACT scores falling

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 13, 2018 at 8:20 am

    This all comes from no accountability. EVER. Obama NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for Fast and Furious. Obama NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for IRS targeting of innocent Americans. Obama NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for Benghazi lies. Eric Holder NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for being in Contempt of Congress. Hillary Clinton NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for keeping a private unsecured server filled with countless classified emails. Huma Abedin NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for having classified material in her laptop. Diane Feinstein NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for lies made against Brett Kavanaugh. Brenda Snipes NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE for breaking ballot securing and ballot counting laws.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 11, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Obannna birth certificate has 9 computer OVERLAYS on it !- You would think the liberal Craps could fake it in one attempt – Just keep counting the votes floating in from offshore down in Disneyland Florida and overseen by that whacko crook who is liberal democrap. and you should get your corrupt party members back in office..

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      November 13, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Who cares!!!! I bet you still whine about the kid who pushed you out of a swing when you were 6.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 10, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Was that the Kenyon’s – NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND bs?

    • Avatar

      bodacious Reply Report comment

      November 11, 2018 at 7:05 am

      You, sir, are not very bright. NCLB was signed into law by George Bush in 2001. I am pretty sure that President Bush was born in Texas and the law was based on a plan that Texas had adopted. I am not sure who Kenyon is unless it is your nickname for President Bush.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        November 11, 2018 at 8:01 am

        You don’t know the name because you really are not very smart.

        • Avatar

          bodacious Reply Report comment

          November 11, 2018 at 8:37 am

          I am smarter than you old man. The poster was trying to make a dig at President Obama by saying he was a Kenyan. Kenyon is a proper name and was misused. Only you would not get that sarcasm.(and a couple of others)

          • Avatar


            November 11, 2018 at 1:44 pm

            No shit? Someone must have told you because you are not smart enough to know it without help. And, no, you are not smarter than me and never will be.

          • Avatar


            November 12, 2018 at 8:07 am

            This fit bodacious to a “T”. It doesn’t matter how good your grades are and if you have a high I.Q. If you lack reason and common sense you are stupid.

  4. Avatar

    ‘Nonymus Reply Report comment

    November 10, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Iowa was at the top of all the education standards fifty/sixty years ago and Mason City was at the top of Iowa’s standards. Then the education associations got more powerful and started making recommendations, then more recommendations and school got easier, simpler, more efficient. Things like history, cursive writing and being able to cypher in your head have mostly been pushed aside since there is now technology to do these things. Now our scores have become pathetic and you wonder why! Dems, you’ve gotten everything you’ve asked for in education over the last 6 decades and now you point figures, you should pay attention to the three pointing back at yourselves for the answers!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      November 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      What 3 figures are you referring to, Mr Non?

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 9, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    The only movement the dems have is a Bowel movement.

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 9, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Who cares about stupid ACT scores. i am sick of seeing what I pay in taxes to send others kids to school. Teachers are payed way to much anyway plus they get a 2-3 month vacation each yr and Ipers.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 9, 2018 at 9:42 am

    You are aware that 95% of the teachers union voted for Hillery in 2016 – how can the students be any smarter than their TEA-CHEERS ? What’s Bernie’s stance on socialized education ?

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      November 9, 2018 at 11:58 am

      You just love to spout out unsupported information like it is truth. You have learned from the liar in chief.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      November 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      How could there even be an accurate statistic for your claims? The housing market, and stock market are crashing again, yet trump supporters still believe the economy is doing better. Two of the major signs of a bad economy are screaming for help, and you fools will let both fall due to beliving a fools lies. Trump should fire himself.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        November 9, 2018 at 2:45 pm

        You are a complete IDIOT working hard to be a moron.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          November 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm

          Don’t come up with something to disprove the claim, just call people names. Typical Trumpian minion.

          • Avatar


            November 9, 2018 at 5:52 pm

            The name fits, live with it or change party’s.

          • Avatar


            November 10, 2018 at 8:15 am

            Less that 1% drop in the stock market is not a crash you idiot.