On Monday, April 9, the Center's executive director Anne Discher spoke at a public hearing at the Iowa Capitol on how Gov. Kim Reynolds’ tax proposal would inevitably lead to budget cuts that would hinder our state's ability to meet the needs of children. Click here to read her full statement. 

For more on taxes, check out the Iowa Fiscal Partnership’s Tax Policy Kit. You’ll find links to several short pieces that examine elements of tax reform and highlight the reality about Iowa taxes—why, for example, they already are quite competitive with those in other states and where new revenues could be found without raising taxes. And check our blog for a quick status report on where the House and Senate tax bills currently stand. 

Individual insurance market

Last week Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill allowing insurers to offer skimpy health plans that can exclude individuals with preexisting conditions or not cover important benefits like prescription coverage or maternity care.

SF 2349 allows Iowa Farm Bureau and Wellmark to offer health benefit plans that are “deemed not to be insurance”—and therefore do not have to comply with state and federal regulations. It also allows small employers to join together to buy health insurance for their employees that don’t have to meet all of the patient protections required by the Affordable Care Act. 

Center health policy associate Mary Nelle Trefz explains in this blog post why the Center shares the desire to make health insurance more affordable, particularly for people who buy their own coverage but don’t qualify for subsidies, but disagrees with the law's approach, which will further destabilize the individual market and increase the number of uninsured Iowans.


Child care opportunity

If you’ve ever struggled to afford child care (and many Iowa families have), you’ll know it’s a huge deal that Congress last month increased funding for child care by 80 percent. Now we need to translate that federal win into concrete improvements in child care affordability here in Iowa.

In March, Congress passed the largest single-year increase in the program’s history to the Child Care Development Block Grant. Currently, Iowa receives $82 million in federal funds that it invests, along with $28 million of state dollars, in our Child Care Assistance program. The new federal funding, which is ongoing, will bring an additional $19 million to Iowa for FY 18 and FY 19.

The Center has been working closely with the United Way of Central Iowa and other groups to make sure those funds are used to expand access to child care for hard-working families. 

Yesterday we delivered to legislators a letter signed by 40 Iowa organizations—representing business, higher education, social service and early care and education—asking for two concrete actions related to Child Care Assistance:

  • Increase the reimbursement rates for participating providers who care for infants and toddlers so they reflect the true cost of care and assure adequate capacity in our system

  • Increase family income eligibility level so more families can access quality care for their children while they work to get ahead

We’d love to expand the list of groups signed on to this request. Email policy director Sheila Hansen to learn more.


Find your legislator

Not sure who represents you? With 50 senators and 100 representatives, it can be hard to keep tabs. Visit our Legislator Lookup tool to find out who represents you in the state house and senate, biographical information about each one and a link to their legislative websites, which list contact information and committee membership. All you need to do is enter your home address and zip code. 

Bill tracker

Want to go deeper? Curious about the status of key bills? The Center maintains a bill tracker to outline the specific legislation we are following this this session. 

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