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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JULY 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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Improving health care for all Iowans

These days there is a lot of talk about improving health care nationwide. In Iowa, it’s not just talk. We’ve taken big steps toward making sure all Iowans have access to the best possible health care.
This year in the Legislature, we kept Iowa moving forward by:

• Attracting more doctors to rural Iowa. We’re helping medical students repay their student loans when they practice in areas of the state that need more doctors (HF 2458).

• Reforming Iowa’s mental-health system. This is a major undertaking that will ensure all Iowans get high-quality mental health care regardless of where they live (SF 2315).

• Ensuring your treatment preferences are respected by making them part of a medical order that health-care providers can rely on (HF 2165).

• Helping seniors live independently and safely through community based services and less dependence on institutional care (SF2336).

• Making sure Iowa’s nursing homes are safe (SF 2316).

• Establishing statewide standards so that Iowans, including returning soldiers, who need prosthetics and orthotics get top-quality products and services (SF 364).

• Supporting local health-care services to make Iowa a healthier place, help Iowans quit smoking, and provide low-income Iowans with access to preventive health screenings (SF2336).

There is still plenty to do, especially when it comes to reducing the high cost of health care and health insurance. Many working Iowans have no health insurance, making them reluctant to see a doctor until they’re desperate enough to go to the emergency room. That’s expensive and doesn’t produce the best results.

When uninsured Iowans can’t pay their medical bills, the price of everyone’s health care goes up to cover the unpaid expenses. A study by the Iowa Hospital Association found that uncompensated care cost Iowa hospitals — and ultimately you and me —more than $851 million in 2010.

If we want to keep the cost of health care in check, we must keep working on solutions. Thank goodness Iowa health-care providers, business leaders, and consumer advocates have been proactive in solving our state’s challenges over the years. By working together, Iowa can continue leading the nation on the health-care front. 

Sen. Bob Dvorsky
D-Coralville


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