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Lawmakers still unhappy with Medicaid savings explanation

DES MOINES - The Department of Human Services and the state Medicaid director have been under scrutiny for numbers they've provided lawmakers and the press about how much money the state is saving by switching from public to privately managed care.

On Wednesday, the DHS Council met with Medicaid director Mike Randol to go over some of those numbers and hear his explanation for the savings. 

"In a meeting open to the public and media, Director Randol presented the savings figures to DHS Council, explained in detail how those savings are calculated, and answered all questions from the Council members," said DHS spokesperson Matt Highland. 

But lawmakers in the room said they walked away from the meeting with more questions than answers.

"Medicaid is complex, it's not an easy thing," said Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City). "If you talk at 10,000 feet, you're going to nod and say that's how it is. But you really got to get into the weeds and get into where the savings are. Because if it's just about reducing services and not paying providers, that's not going to help anybody and in the long term it's not going to be good for Iowa."

After a request from Sen. Pam Jochum, state auditor Mary Mosiman said  that she will review the state's Medicaid program and its savings data. Jochum was in the meeting on Wednesday, and said she still doesn't understand director Randol's math.

"There's a lot of unknowns yet," said Jochum. "There are a lot of questions to be asked. I would still ask the governor and director Randol to sit down with any of you and any lawmaker that wants to and provide far more details than what was given today."

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