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News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

Rep. Linda Upmeyer talks about success of growing markets

Rep. Upmeyer

The following is a legislative update from GOP Rep. Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake, Speaker of the Iowa House:

With the school year over, students are gearing up for summer activities and sports. Summer is a busy time and it’s important that students continue to have access to healthy meals. The Iowa Department of Education administers a program that provides students from low-income areas with nutritional foods over the summer at locations across the state. To find more information about the program or meal locations, visit the Department of Education’s website.

EPA clears the way for year-round E-15

While flooding, tariffs, and trade agreements are on the minds of many Iowa farmers, some good news came last week with the announcement of year-round sale of E-15. The decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a huge win for Iowa as we lead the nation in ethanol production and will expand the market for farmers.

Not only will year-round E-15 give Iowa farmers new opportunities for growth, it will provide consumers across the country with additional choice at the fuel pump. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, there are more than 180 locations where E-15 can be purchased, with more growth expected in the future thanks to the EPA’s decision.

I also remain optimistic that Congress will approve the United State-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to create new markets for Iowa farmers and businesses. Ratification of the USCMA coupled with the E-15 announcement would be great news for the people of Iowa and our economy!

Medicaid update

Back in March, one of the companies that manage care for Iowans enrolled in Medicaid, UnitedHealthcare, announced they would be leaving the program on July 1. While this is disappointing, the Department of Human Services is working closely with Medicaid members to ensure a smooth transition during this time. Additionally, a new managed care organization (MCO), Iowa Total Care, will begin the same day as United’s exit.

Medicaid members have been sent notices with their initial assignment to either Amerigroup or Iowa Total Care, and have until June 18 to change MCOs before the July 1 start. After that, members will have an additional 90 days to switch for any reason. If you are a Medicaid member or have a relative on Medicaid, be sure to check your mail and find out which MCO is best for you. Each company may have different providers in their networks and offer different value-added services to fit individual health care needs.

Both Amerigroup and Iowa Total Care have been staffing up in preparation for July 1. Many of United Healthcare’s former employees, including case managers, have been hired by the two remaining MCOs. If you or a family member had a case manager that you liked working with at United, check which company they are now with during your research. More information on each MCO can be found below:
Iowa Total Care

Since managed care began in Iowa, we have enacted some of the strongest oversight language in the country. These accountability measures have been written into the contracts for the MCOs to hold them accountable to both Medicaid members and providers. The program has improved significantly since it first began and we will continue to monitor to ensure vulnerable Iowans are getting the care they need and providers are being paid for their services.

I am happy to assist those impacted by the transition during this time. If you are having issues with your MCO, please reach out. I can be contacted by email at or by phone at (515) 281-3521.

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