Several democratic leaders meet in Jefferson County

U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack and Iowa State Sen. Jack Hatch talking at the Proud to Be a Democrat potluck.

A forecast of rain took the Proud to Be a Democrat picnic indoors for a potluck at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center.

People attending had the opportunity to meet several political figures from the state of Iowa including U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack, the Mayor of Fairfield Ed Malloy and Iowa State Senator Jack Hatch.

â??We have another week and a half that I believe we'll get through the legislative session,â?? State Sen. Hatch from Des Moines said. â??Medicaid expansion is going into a conference committee, which I'm going to be member of.â??

That committee is marching toward universal healthcare with the goal of providing all Iowan adults and children access to affordable healthcare.

â??But not only access, we want to change the way Healthcare is delivered, Hatch said. â??So we want a new, modern healthcare system.â??

The state senator say Gov. Branstadâ??s â??Healthy Iowa Planâ?? forces low income families into an expensive, competitive and complicated insurance market system.

â??In 7 years heâ??ll spend $1.1 billion of our taxpayersâ?? money and this is money that we want to keep in Iowa where we can use the most federal dollars for the next seven years.â?? Hatch said. â??Itâ??s kind of irresponsible actually to be using Iowa taxpayersâ?? money when we could be using weâ??ve already sent our taxes into.â??

Republican Gov. Branstad criticizes Medicaid expansion saying it costs the federal government billions of dollars. Other democratic leaders at both the federal and local level are also standing up for Medicaid expansion.

â??Medicaid expansion will cost the state millions of dollars less,â?? U.S. Congressman Loebsack said. â??It covers more people; itâ??s less expensive, and the coverage itself is more expansive especially when it comes to mental health.â??

â??The concern I have with the Governor's plan is that not only would we only would we not have those resources, his plan would take a lot of county funds that we're using for mental health and use them for his healthcare plans,â?? Jefferson County Supervisor Becky Schmitz said.

â??The real difference is that the governor wants to spend Iowa state taxpayer money for half a program thatâ??s going to serve half as many people,â?? State Sen. Hatch said.

In addition to challenging the governorâ??s healthcare planâ?¦

â??I am considering running for governor, after the legislative session, weâ??ll have more formal announcements and possibly and exploratory committee, but what we really want to do is get back into believing in innovation, believing more in Iowaâ??and thatâ??s taking care of our own programs, rely more on small business than big corporations,â?? Hatch concluded.