King introduces bill to deal with costly effects of electronic health records law

Health Care

By The Iowa Statesman


Morning Dump LogoEvery day, we read through our email inbox in order to present you with the information from the political press releases that are most pertinent to you.

Short disclaimer: not all candidates send out press releases to us, so if your favorite isn’t showing up here, don’t get mad at us. We have told them all that we’d be more than happy to publish their releases. Also, we only make minor edits to clean up grammar and punctuation; the language and tone come directly from the campaigns themselves.

So, let’s rifle through today’s Morning Dump …


King introduces Meaningful Use Act

Steve King released the following statement after introducing H.R. 3780, the “Putting Patients and Providers Ahead of Compressed Regulatory Timelines Act of 2015” also known as “The Meaningful Use Act.”

“On October 6th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released final rules for Stage 3 of its meaningful use program for electronic health records (EHRs),” said King. “Although CMS touted the regulations as giving providers increased flexibility, this program remains broken and unsustainable for providers.

The significant and ongoing financial cost of compliance is a deal breaker for many providers who simply cannot handle the financial burden and risks associated with EHRs. The demands of this onerous program means fewer dollars for staff and supplies necessary to attend to patients. This unwelcome, ‘unintended’ consequence of this bad law has caused some providers to have to close their businesses altogether.

The Administration has chosen to disregard the overwhelming facts that we should not move forward with implementation and done so anyway with the release of the final rules for Stage 3 of the program.  The Administration has offered a 60-day comment period, instead of taking the right action of eliminating the harmful penalties associated with this program.

My bill would repeal these destructive penalties so that providers can get back to the business they are uniquely trained to do—utilizing their skills and knowledge to heal the sick and support the continued vitality of the healthy. We need to save as many healthcare providers as possible. With the right president and the repeal of ObamaCare, we will need them.”

To view the original bill text, click here.


Branstad: All school districts have joined TLS

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds have announced that all 336 Iowa school districts have applied to join the state’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation System, the most comprehensive teacher leadership system in the nation.  This targeted effort to tap into the expertise of top teachers to better support the more demanding work that teachers are expected to do and to raise student achievement, is the centerpiece of the landmark education reform package adopted by the Legislature and signed by Branstad in 2013.

The legislation created a three-year phase in process to develop a statewide teacher leadership system, with the goal of all school districts participating by the 2016-17 school year. As of this week, all school districts in Iowa have developed and submitted local plans to participate in the teacher leadership system.  When the teacher leadership system is fully phased in, it will cost $150 million annually.

“As the Lt. Governor and I travel around the state and visit with schools districts that are engaged in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System, we’re hearing that this system is transforming instruction in the classroom,” said Gov. Branstad.  “We know that these targeted investments are paving the way to give Iowa students a world-class education while revitalizing the teaching profession.”

The teacher leadership system rewards outstanding teachers with leadership opportunities, attracts promising teachers with competitive starting salaries and support, and fosters greater collaboration for all teachers to learn from each other.

“In order to achieve our goal of making Iowa schools the best in the nation, we must continue to be innovative in our approach,” said Lt. Gov. Reynolds.  “Teachers are the key to giving students a globally competitive education.  The teacher leadership system is working to ensure that we are attracting the brightest and best teachers to our classrooms.  We want to ensure we are giving teachers the tools to be successful.  I commend all districts on their planning efforts.”

Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said feedback from Iowa teachers and principals has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I hear over and over again that the teacher leadership system has empowered teachers and principals to work together in new and creative ways,” Wise said. “With higher expectations for all students in place today, it’s critical that we support the important and complex work of teaching, and Iowa is doing that through the teacher leadership system.”

The teacher leadership system is rooted in collaboration and partnership and was that way from the beginning, when a state task force’s recommendations in 2012 formed the basis of the successful legislative proposal. After a year of planning, school districts began applying for funding to implement the teacher leadership system plans locally. The first teacher leadership system districts wrapped up their initial year last spring.

For more information on the teacher leadership system, visit:


Iowa grassroots heavyweight endorses Huckabee

Grassroots heavyweight and conservative activist from central Iowa, Julie Roe, endorsed Gov. Mike Huckabee for president today.

“Gov. Huckabee is a conservative outsider with a real record of leadership and accomplishment on issues Americans care about, not just talk. He will dismantle the destruction and dysfunction in Washington and bring integrity and world-wide respect back to the office. His extraordinary communication skills, his understanding of Constitutional boundaries and federal government limitations, connection with the common people, and no-nonsense non-partisan approach to problem solving is what our country desperately needs to unite our country again after the divisive Obama presidency. After carefully examining all the conservatives in this race, I know Gov. Huckabee is the strongest, best prepared to defeat Hillary Clinton and rebuild America, and I proudly support his campaign for president,” said Roe.

Roe is a self-described “Iowa farm girl” that lives in Eldora, with a history of conservative activism across the Hawkeye state. She is married with three school-aged children and works in agriculture marketing. She has considered several Republican presidential campaigns and decided to endorse Gov. Huckabee after reviewing all the candidates in detail.

“From Cedar Rapids to Sioux City, Davenport to Des Moines, we’re mobilizing a grassroots army for the caucuses, and I’m proud to have the support of Julie Roe to help strengthen our team in central Iowa,” said Gov.Huckabee. “Brick-by-brick, we’re building a team of conservative activists who are sick of Washington’s recklessness. It’s time we burn Washington’s corrupt political machine to the ground and rebuild America so we can win again.”


Branstad appoints two new judges

Friday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad appointed Linda M. Fangman judge to the 1B Judicial District.  He also appointed William P. Kelly as judge to the 5C Judicial District.

Fangman, of Waterloo, received her undergraduate degree from St. Ambrose University and her law degree from Drake University.  She currently serves as Black Hawk County Attorney.   She is appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Todd Geer.  District 1 consists of the following counties: Allamakee, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard, and Winneshiek.

Kelly, of West Des Moines, received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, law degree from Drake University, and Intermediate Level Education (ILE) Graduate from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.  He currently is in private practice.  In addition to his private practice, he also served as Judge Advocate while deployed on Active Duty in Afghanistan.  He is appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge D.J. Stovall.  District 5 consists of the following counties: Adair, Adams, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Guthrie, Jasper, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Warren and Wayne.


Grassley: Lack of accountability in IRS targeting scandal

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today made the following comment on the Justice Department’s announcement of a lack of criminal charges against Lois Lerner in the IRS targeting scandal.  Grassley, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is a senior member and former Chairman of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over the IRS.

“The lack of accountability for the targeting scandal will hit a lot of Americans as plain wrong.  Anybody who deals with the IRS is entitled to the expectation that IRS employees respect taxpayer rights, and that those employees are well aware of those rights.  None of that was true in the targeting scandal, yet the responsible IRS employees, including Lois Lerner and her bosses, were allowed to move on.  Where was the IRS commissioner while the agency was treating conservative groups so poorly?  As a legislator, I’m working to fulfill my responsibilities to fix the IRS mess.  I have pending legislation that would improve the way the IRS treats taxpayers in key areas.   The bill includes extending a remedy to social welfare organizations to force answers in instances where the IRS fails to act on an application in a timely manner or makes a negative determination on their tax-exempt status.   My bill updates the ‘10 deadly sins’ of actions by IRS employees that require mandatory termination to include official actions taken for political purposes.  These provisions and many others would help turn around the disastrous state of business at the IRS as exposed in the targeting scandal.”

More information on Grassley’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights Enhancement Act of 2015 is available here.


Huckabee slams Lerner, IRS, Justice Department

Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee released the following statement in response to the Justice Department’s decision to not bring criminal charges against Lois Lerner or any other IRS official:

“Lois Lerner’s behavior is criminal, the IRS is a criminal enterprise, and Obama’s decision to exonerate them both is inexcusable and insane! The IRS imprisons Americans for misplacing receipts, yet Lois Lerner destroys documents, erases hard-drives, and pleads the fifth but nothing happens? In America, when you spit on our Constitution and stab citizens in the back, you get punished. Yet in the Obama Administration you get a pass, a pension, and sometimes even a promotion.

“Our 75,000-page tax code is a complete disaster and the IRS is a criminal enterprise. The IRS is the only government agency that can launch an investigation, render a verdict, and impose a punishment-it’s is a cop, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner rolled-up into one. Enough tinkering with the tax code, it’s time to kill the IRS monstrosity and replace it with the FairTax!”