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Unclear Language in Iowa’s Health Care Budget Bill Prevents $750,000 from Being Spent on Supported Employment

May 31, 2016

Iowa’s Department of Health and Human Services announced on May 9, 2016 that, due to an unclear statement of how money was to be spent in a 2015 health care budget bill, $750,000 initially allocated to increase supported employment has not been spent. The money instead went toward Iowa’s general Medicaid budget. Human Services Director Chuck Palmer has stated that, while he knew that state legislators intended for the funds to be spent on supported employment, he did not feel he had the legal authority to allocate the funds in that manner without specific language assenting to it in the budget bill. 

The redirected funding frustrated many Iowa legislators. Senator Pan Dochum, who has a daughter with an intellectual disability, claims that the funding was specifically allocated to supported employment at one point, but the allocation was edited out in later revisions. Iowa legislators did not allocate any new funds to supported employment during the current year’s legislative sessions. 

For more information on this issue, read The Gazette article.