Mental Health Care
How we treat the most vulnerable in our community speaks volumes about our state’s strength and heart — but right now our state isn’t doing enough to fix Iowa’s growing mental health and substance abuse crisis. In every community Fred travels to Iowans are concerned about family members, friends, or neighbors who are in desperate need of mental health care and substance abuse services but don’t have local access.
We need to reverse Medicaid privatization, give local communities more authority to invest in locally-driven programs like crisis intervention and prison diversion programs, create a program for youth in need of treatment, put a focus on preventive treatment, and increase the number of high-intensity treatment beds available across the state.
While the legislature has slashed funding for mental health services and failed to properly address this growing crisis, Fred and his wife, Charlotte, have personally worked with a local medical center to help increase the number of acute treatment beds by 50%, hire additional mental health professionals, and expand services. As governor, Fred will expand on this work and bring much needed care to communities statewide.
We need to reverse Medicaid privatization NOW. We see story after story in our local communities and in the press about what a disaster the Reynolds’ failed privatization experiment has been, but they have not taken action to rectify it.
Medicaid privatization has left many of the 600,000 Iowans who use the program with greatly reduced benefits and systemic denials of coverage that especially hurt the most vulnerable among us: the elderly, children, and the disabled. Health care providers continue to be financially strapped, with some forced to close, because of denied and delayed payments from managed care organizations. In addition, over a third of patients were left with just ONE care provider after the departure of AmeriHealth late last year. So how is the Reynolds Administration addressing the failures of her privatization experiment? By hiring the same Medicaid director who drove Kansas’ Medicaid system in to the ground.
We cannot wait any longer. As governor, reversing Medicaid privatization will be a priority on Day 1.
Fred is the former chair of Planned Parenthood of Mid-Iowa and served on its board for a number of years. During his time at Planned Parenthood, protesters threatened his business because of his work with the women’s health organization — but, to Fred, what’s right is right. Not only did he continue to work with Planned Parenthood, but in 2011 when they were blocked from opening a new clinic in Dubuque, Charlotte and Fred stepped in to help the organization purchase a new building and successfully open the new clinic, bringing better and safer health care services to women in Eastern Iowa.
Part of making sure all Iowans have access to quality and affordable healthcare is ensuring everyone is treated fairly — no matter their gender or economic circumstance. Planned Parenthood provides important medical services and education for thousands of Iowans, and as governor, Fred will continue to do everything he can to restore state funding and improve access to quality, affordable health care across the state.