Boswell hopes to work with maytag to ensure presence in Newton

Boswell hopes to work with Maytag to ensure its presence in Newton
 
Date January 19, 2005
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By PETER HUSSMANN

Editor

About two dozen local business and government officials met over lunch with Congressman Leonard Boswell on Tuesday to voice concerns and give input on what lawmakers might need to address to positively impact the local community.

Not surprisingly, the first issue broached was what Congress might be able to do to stem the tide of outsourcing production and manufacturing operations, an issue that hits close to home as Maytag comes under even greater pressure from its larger appliance manufacturing rivals that have moved hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas.

“I don’t have an answer, but I know we can’t ignore it,” the Des Moines Democrat and former Iowa lawmaker told the group. “I believe that if we lose manufacturing it’s hard to restore it.”

Boswell said he has been trying to organize a meeting between his office, state officials and Maytag representatives to see what might be done to assist company. Scheduling conflicts and the holiday season have hampered efforts to put the meeting together. A Maytag representative attending the meeting said the gathering will occur sometime in the near future.

Boswell said he hoped Maytag will remain a strong component of the local economy for years to come.

Maytag‘s roots are here, their history is here and their success has been here,” he said. “I believe that given a chance and the opportunity, they will keep it here.”

Boswell also addressed the economic opportunities Iowa has at promoting the growth of industries that use Iowa produced products, such as soy diesel and ethanol products.

“We are in bondage to OPEC,” he said. “Anything we can do to get away from that reliance and move toward things we produce is a good thing.”

Skiff Medical Center Administrator Eric Lothe addressed the Medicare reimbursement disparities that exist between Iowa and other states in the nation. However, one program available under Medicare allows for the establishment of Critical Access Hospitals that stabilize funding streams to rural facilities by allowing for cost-based reimbursements. For Skiff, the funding method would mean an additional $3 million in annual revenue.

Lothe said that more than 60 small hospitals across the state have taken advantage of the program.

However, the Newton hospital is not eligible because the program caps the number of beds a facility may license at 25. He asked Boswell to consider raising the cap to somewhere between 35 and 50, a move that would allow Newton to consider seeking the designation.

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