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Iowa hires Kansas official to oversee privatized Medicaid

November 17, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s privatized Medicaid program has new leadership.

The state Department of Human Services announced Friday that Michael Randol has been appointed director of the health care program for poor and disabled people. He begins Dec. 4.

Randol served recently as Medicaid director in Kansas, which privatized its program in 2013. Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies contend privatization there has controlled costs, while critics say it has reduced coverage and transparency about the program.

Health care groups and Medicaid patients in Iowa have offered similar criticism about Iowa’s coverage since privatization in 2016, and more issues remain. Three private insurance companies currently run Iowa’s program, but one is leaving at the end of the month amid failed contract negotiations over money. Iowa officials say privatization is saving money, but future contract negotiations make that claim unclear.

Iowa’s Medicaid program serves more than 600,000 people.

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