Greetings from the Statehouse: Bills pass to improve childcare and healthcare

By Michael Bergan, Iowa House District 55

This was a slower week here at the Capitol. However, even though the week was slow, it was nonetheless important. On Tuesday the House passed a bill involving reimbursement rates for childcare assistance. Then on Wednesday, the Capitol was visited by the Iowa Honey Producers Association, as well Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley. Finally, on Thursday, the Capitol was visited by the Iowa Public Transit Association and the Iowa Association of Councils of Governments. 

Behind the scenes

With the session drawing to a close, I’d like to take the time to introduce the young man who has been helping me behind the scenes throughout the session, my clerk Cole Heim. Cole is originally from Sherrill, a small town outside of Dubuque. He is a recent college graduate with a passion to serve in Iowa politics, particularly in the areas of agricultural policy. It has been a pleasure having him as my clerk and his work has been much appreciated.

Notable Bills

HF 2658: This is a bill with a big impact for Iowa’s hardworking childcare workers. The main thing this legislation does is extend the 2023 HHS pilot program through June 2025. This pilot program has already had multiple benefits such as reducing the turnover rate for childcare workers. The second half of this bill sets the half-day CCA reimbursement rates to the 65th percentile at a minimum and the 80th percentile at a maximum. All of these improvements will provide great support to our childcare workers.

HF 2668: This is a bill that will improve the quality of healthcare in Iowa by requiring health insurers to provide coverage for biomarker testing when the testing has proven to result in a better result for the patient. What biomarker testing does is check for certain genes, proteins or other molecules in order to look for signs or behaviors of specific diseases and conditions. Doctors can then use these biomarker test results to better tailor their treatment. Some of the more common recipients of biomarker testing are patients with cancer or rheumatoid arthritis. Now with it being covered by insurance, patients will benefit from more effective care that will better treat their condition and subsequently avoid ineffective, harmful treatments. 

Guests at the Capitol

The Capitol found itself once again filled with visitors. On Wednesday the Capitol was abuzz with visitors in attendance for Iowa Honey Bee Day. While at the event I was able to chat with Keith Bidne, a biological science research technician with the USDA, and learn more about the valuable impact our Iowa honey producers and nature’s pollinators. Later that day the House received a visit from Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, who stopped by to speak with lawmakers about how to best serve Iowans. Then the following day, Thursday, I had a great end to my week, meeting with Rachelle Howe, a member of the board of directors for ICOG, and Lori Egan, the director of transportation for Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation. Lastly, hope you all had a peace-filled and Happy Easter!

Visiting the Capitol?

It is always an honor to meet with constituents. If you are visiting the Capitol, kindly notify me of your intent to visit at michael.bergan@legis.iowa.gov. This will greatly assist me in the scheduling process.

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