Iowa moves to private management of Medicaid Friday, April 1

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's $4.2 billion Medicaid program is switching to private management, and lawmakers are still debating what state oversight should be in place under the new system.

Senate President Pam Jochum, a Dubuque Democrat, says she's receiving correspondence from Medicaid patients who express confusion and concern about their services as privatization went live Friday, April 1, 2016. State officials have said such issues are being addressed.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had postponed the state’s original plan to begin managed care on Jan. 1, saying there were too many issues to safely transfer the care of 560,000 poor and disabled residents to three private for-profit insurance companies.

The Democratic-controlled Senate passed legislation that would add state oversight to the program, which provides health care to poor and disabled Iowa residents. It's stalled in the Republican-majority House.

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Clear Lake Republican, says GOP lawmakers are drafting their own oversight measure.

The issue will enter a new chapter Friday as both critics and supporters see how services are actually provided.

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