Governor Branstad, Doesn’t the DHS Chief Work for You?

chuckpalmerIowa Governor Terry Branstad said he’s confident that his Department of Human Services chief, Chuck Palmer, will “do the right thing” in deciding how to handle a petition from 41 Republican House members for an emergency rulemaking to halt government-funded abortions.  From The Cedar Rapids Gazette:

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to him in detail,” Branstad said Monday, referring to Iowa DHS director Chuck Palmer, “but I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s a problem-solver. He has empathy for the people who receive human services and he has good fiscal management skills.”

The GOP House members petitioned the Iowa Department of Human Services to rescind rules on terminating pregnancies in cases of rape, incest and fetal deformation.

In fiscal 2012, which ended June 30, there were 22 Medicaid-funded abortions in Iowa — 15 for severe fetal anomalies, two for rape and five to save the life of the mother, according to the DHS.

There’s more at risk than the funding for those abortions, however. Palmer said there is legal precedent in federal decisions regarding similar situations in other states that have sought to end government-funded abortions, suggesting Iowa could risk $1.8 billion in Medicaid money by pursuing that course of action.

Maybe I need to reread my Iowa Constitution, but Governor Branstad, doesn’t Chuck Palmer work for you?  Could you possibly put some skin in the game here?  It was the legislative intent in 2011 that abortions based on fetal anomalies wouldn’t be paid for.  In a statement via Tim Albrecht you accepted responsibility for taxpayer money being used in this way.

Iowa Medicaid Enterprises utilizes a contractor for medical services. The medical director and the review team are medical professionals working as contractors for an outside vendor scrutinizing reimbursement. The responsibility of all Medicaid contractors and the Iowa Medicaid Enterprises rests with the Department of Human Services, and ultimately, the Office of the Governor.

So give some direction to your DHS chief.