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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Iowa facing deadline on high-risk health pools

By Jason Hancock | 04.30.10 | 9:03 am

Thousands of uninsured Iowans with pre-existing health conditions could receive coverage years earlier than originally thought if state officials decide to participate in a new federal insurance pool.

The Obama administration announced earlier this month that it was establishing a temporary insurance pool where uninsured people with medical problems could buy coverage at reduced rates. The state has until Friday afternoon to decide whether to opt in to the new program and accept federal money to augment its current high-risk insurance pool.

A spokesman for Gov. Chet Culver could not be immediately reached for comment.

“This is an opportunity for the state to show whether it is ready to put a critical component of health reform — covering people with pre-existing conditions — on a faster track,” said Andrew Cannon, research associate for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project and author of a new policy brief on the topic.

Cannon said more than 34,500 Iowans could be eligible for Iowa’s existing high-risk pool or a new one the state may create if the state chooses to act now. The federal health-reform legislation allocated $5 billion nationally to states to provide temporary coverage as a bridge to full implementation of health reform, which will require all insurance companies to accept applicants without consideration of a person’s medical condition by 2014.

Iowa created its high-risk pool program in 1987, now known as the Health Insurance Plan of Iowa (HIPIowa). It serves 2,732 state residents.

High-risk pools such as HIPIowa are designed to help individuals who do not have health insurance through work, do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford or qualify for individual coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. HIPIowa’s premiums are about half as expensive as the standard rate for plans sold on the private market, Cannon said, but in many cases those premiums still exceed potential enrollees’ ability to pay.

“Despite the limitations, though, these high-risk pools present a valuable stopgap measure until the full implementation of health reform in 2014,” Cannon said. “Iowa’s participation could open the door to quality insurance coverage for thousands of uninsured Iowans with pre-existing conditions.”

Federal health officials said the program would be available from late June of this year to Jan. 1, 2014, when health care reform legislation fully kicks in.

California, Montana, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin have announced they intend to operate the program under contract with the federal government. Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming have declined, citing fears that federal money may not last throughout the entire three-and-a-half-year period before health reform legislation is fully implemented. They point to a study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that predicted the money might only last until 2011 or 2012.

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