Uninsured Iowans on the Rise

posted by Bill Bumgarner on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Iowa Hospital Association recently shared some disturbing information with its members.  The number of uninsured Iowans is on the rise.

According to new data from the polling firm Gallup and digital health company Sharecare, Iowa’s uninsured rate increased from 3.9% in 2016 to 7.2% in 2017.  It almost doubled in one year.

This unsettling increase comes after several years of reversing a negative trend.  The Iowa uninsured rate fell from 9.7% in 2013 to 3.9% in 2016 as the Affordable Care Act – to include the expansion of Medicaid to more adult citizens – evolved as a new opportunity for health insurance access for many Americans.

The Affordable Care Act has its critics.  Appropriately so.  It isn’t a perfect piece of legislation. Yet, it has clearly made a difference by offering more Americans access to health insurance, which in turn, provides increased access to health prevention measures.

But that important progress was undone by the efforts of some politicians in Washington, D.C. to weaken the Affordable Care Act.  Said more plainly . . . they made it harder for American families to gain access to affordable health insurance. 

Access to affordable health insurance for all Americans is critical for physicians, hospitals and other providers to improve care quality and bring more efficiency to the cost of healthcare services.  The emergency room has never been a good alternative to a family doctor.

There are elected officials in Washington D.C. and Des Moines that don’t get it. Healthcare planning and legislation is being done behind closed doors without engaging content experts and the provider community.  In some instances, the time-honored tradition of holding legislative committee hearings is being bypassed.  

These discouraging trends makes our lift a bit heavier.  However, you can be assured that the dedicated healthcare professionals throughout the Spencer medical community will carry on.

We’ll continue to do our very best to provide access to a broad range of care and advanced technology.  We understand how important quality healthcare services are to you and your loved ones.  Do your elected officials – through their votes and actions – share that same commitment?

About The Author

Bill Bumgarner

Bill Bumgarner has served as President of Spencer Hospital since 2009, relocating to Spencer from Estherville where he served as president of Avera Holy Family Hospital.