The Governor and our Legislature have failed to protect the public health of the state of Iowa. One day, when the focus shifts to protecting public health, I drink.
What should an Iowa physician do? I was recently invited along with a group of other physicians. An evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres with Gov. Kim Reynolds and the First Gentleman By becoming a member of a volunteer physician network. When this happened to me, I remembered my recent bravery. The Iowa high school graduates spoke as they received scholarships from the governor.. Alarmingly, we in Iowa have watched the governor and the Republican-controlled legislature pass reform laws that affect education, privacy, reproductive options, medical decision-making, reading materials, public funding of our schools, and gun restrictions.
As a physician who works with disenfranchised populations—including people of color and members of the broader LGBTQ community—I know that I have a responsibility to take a stand and speak up.
According to the CDC Foundation: “Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. In general, public health is about protecting the health of the people. Let’s look at how our state would fare under our current governor and legislature:
Blocking gender-affirming health care
Reynolds signed the law Senate File 538prohibition Transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care, which is a medically necessary treatment in many cases. Even when a counselor, doctor, and family know that this treatment is life-saving, the ban doesn’t make any difference to already at-risk populations. Also, from the May 18 file: “Senate File 496 Requires teachers to notify parents and guardians if student is transgender, and It prohibits teaching students about gender identity and sexuality until sixth grade.“Our schools must affirm all of our students and make sure they know the realities of gender identity, orientation, and gender expression.”
Government reorganization zaps health board
root Senate File 514, The State Board of Health was abolished. It has been in Iowa for nearly 150 years, providing evidence-based regulations and oversight of health facilities and public health in the state. Some functions of the Board of Health are simply eliminated (preventing the spread of disease, promoting health behaviors, and supporting the importance of public health standards), while others are transferred to a new Board of Health and Human Services that requires only one health professional. To serve rather than be the majority.
SNAP and Medicaid limits will be raised
Senate File 494 It forces New resource limits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, and adds income monitoring requirements for both SNAP and Medicaid. The bill is estimated to cost millions of dollars to exclude thousands of Iowans from these benefits, leading to greater food insecurity and more uninsured Iowans, negatively impacting Iowa’s overall health. Reynolds has yet to sign the bill.
Health and Human Services budget document without investment in maternal health
Senate File 561 It fails to address the significant challenges facing maternal health in Iowa. Republicans refused to consider an extension Medicaid coverage after pregnancy; 44 other states did. Extending postpartum coverage clearly results in more positive health outcomes after pregnancy. Reynolds has not yet signed the bill.
Iowa wants abortion restrictions
Reynolds fought constantly for the courts. Reinstating the ban on abortion in Iowa after six weeks of pregnancyFollowing the overturning of Roe v. Wade. If Reynolds is successful, 98% of abortions could be banned in the state. As we know from other states, abortion is prohibited They do not prevent all abortionsBut instead pressure pregnant women to seek abortions in unsafe areas. One promising area is the buyer’s push to allow continuity. Giving birth control pills without a prescription. When that is approved, we need to make sure that insurers like Medicaid continue to foot the bill. Prevention of unwanted pregnancies and subsequent abortions should be a common concern of all members of our government.
Firearms in Iowa are not regulated.
National Public Radio report of May 12 “Guns are the number one cause of death for children and youth … and play a major role in suicide.” In Iowa, military-style firearms are readily available and openly legal to possess. The need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon has been removed. Public health requires us to legislate on the sale of more assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. Before a mass shooting happens in Iowa, we must act to prevent shootings in our schools and other areas where teenagers, students and the public interact. We need to legislate and go beyond “thoughts and prayers.”
No. I will not be attending the May 31 drinks and hors d’oeuvres evening at the Governor’s Mansion, and I encourage my fellow Iowa physicians to do the same. The Governor and our Legislature have failed to protect the public health of the state of Iowa. One day, when the focus shifts to protecting public health, I drink.
David E. Drake, DO, provides telepsychiatry services to indigent Iowans through private practice. Contact: email@example.com.