Iowa gets go-ahead for Medicaid plan with home care

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The Department of Health and Human Services has given Iowa the green light to add home- and community-based services to its Medicaid plan. Iowa is the first state to receive this type of federal approval.

The change in Iowa's Medicaid program is a result of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which allows states to change their Medicaid benefit package without having to go through a lengthy waiver process. Such waivers were generally limited to three or five years and required states to ask for renewals.

"Stopping the burdensome cycle of continually having to request federal government permission to offer a benefit that is good for people and programs will be a huge relief for states and beneficiaries," HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said in a news release.