mattchapman

So why are health insurance premiums skyrocketing?

Matt Chapman has been a committed citizen lobbyist on many issues this year, including health care reform. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I have always been laser-focused on Medicaid and health care access for the poor. And when Iowa Dems twisted Terry Branstad’s arm until he cried “Medicaid Expansion!” I was elated. So in my bubble, the worst thing going on seemed to be the privatization of Medicaid or “Branstad’s Revenge.”

With the private insurance companies all pulling out of Iowa, now that I am aware of the astronomical raises in premiums, I feel a little shame at my blissful ignorance. All I can tell you is at 51 years old the Affordable Care Act gave me dental insurance for the first time in my life. And I’ve had the same doctor for five years. Before the ACA, the folks around the poverty line would have to drive sometimes 200 miles just to see a doctor. And rarely the same one twice. For dental they line up at Broadlawns (the Polk County public hospital) at six in the morning and hope they’re in bad enough shape to get in.

But what really made me aware was after the Drake forum with Senator Joni Ernst in March.

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Jethro's: "We support our employees and a minimum wage hike." Then why did Mike Holms lobby for House File 295?

Matt Chapman closely followed and participated in the Iowa legislative debate over blocking county-level minimum wage increases. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I came across a Des Moines Register article in my Facebook feed that was 856 words long. It was a rebuttal to a letter to the editor about Jethro’s BBQ planning to open a restaurant in Ames.

The rebuttal is authored by Bruce Gerleman, Iowa view contributor and owner of all the Jethro’s BBQ.

I took offense at this response, and I’ll tell you why. And I hope that since I am just a low wage worker, if my response is 856 words long, the Register will publish my view as well.

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30 minutes with David Young

First-person accounts of meetings with elected officials are always a good read. Thanks, Matt Chapman. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Friday afternoon, leaders of the Indivisible Central Iowa Leadership had a 30 minute meeting with Representative David Young. Tyler Higgs, Jess McCord, Bill Ekhardt, Jordan Hobfoll, Marie Herring, Mark Brooks and myself attended.

The topics scheduled for discussion were the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its replacement with the American Health Care Act as well as the border wall with Mexico, two of the new president’s signature campaign promises during the election.

There is a transcript below with most of the Q & A. David Young is very approachable and easy to have discussions with. Like most political animals, getting some of the more controversial positions pinned down before a vote is taken can be difficult. If the goal is not to obfuscate but more a testing of which way the political wind is blowing, I think that’s a sign that positions can be moved. It is up to us then, either by having discussions or by just showing up to vote to get what we want and expect from our elected leaders.

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Will Governor Branstad's legacy be yours as well?

Matt Chapman shares comments he delivered at today’s Iowa House public hearing on Republican budget proposals. -promoted by desmoinesdem

So here we are again in public comments for the seventh time this year, discussing laws that are disproportionately pro-wealthy and anti-worker. These laws are also mostly split along party lines. And I have to hand it to your strategist, as the most damaging laws against workers, many who voted Republican in 2016, were gotten out of the way earlier in the session. And at the end of the session, we have the most divisive legislation brought to the fore in an attempt to appease the very voters you enraged with the destruction of Chapter 20, the union-busting bill.

This will be the governor’s legacy. Will it be yours as well? Let’s compare him to Governor Robert Ray.

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Republican strategy and divisive bills in the Iowa legislature

Matt Chapman wades into what is sure to be an intense debate over how Democrats should communicate with Iowans about this disastrous legislative session. -promoted by desmoinesdem

It’s no surprise that bills to regulate women’s rights and the gun omnibus were passed in the first week of April, right before the budget and when the end of session is looming.

These are very divisive laws, supported by the majority of the Republican base. The same folks who many of whom were hurt by laws stripping workers of bargaining rights, mandatory wage raises and even watering down workers’ compensation.

It will be interesting to see if this strategy works. My advice to anyone outraged by this session (and I acknowledge that it is too soon to do this now) would be to try to avoid the divisive issues. We have common ground with all workers in Iowa, and if we spend a lot of energy on guns or women’s rights, we will have a hard time trying to get change in our state.

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Iowa sets precedent with "First in the Nation" law lowering the minimum wage

Matt Chapman comments on an important bill finalized this week. For what it’s worth, I do not believe Jake Highfill’s claim that Governor Terry Branstad supports a $10 an hour minimum wage. Branstad has expressed support for “a modest increase over a period of time.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

An unfortunate precedent was set when Governor Terry Branstad signed House File 295 on Thursday.

Although 23 Republican-controlled states “now preempt local efforts to increase the minimum wage,” this week Iowa became the “first state government in the U.S. to take away raises from low-wage workers who already received them,” according to the National Employment Law Project.

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