Iowa GOP leaders failed us on health care bill

TJ Foley, a recent graduate of Valley High School in West Des Moines, on how top Iowa Republicans failed to speak out against an “attack on the most basic principles of equality, freedom, and rural fairness.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

It’s been a rough week for Senate Republicans. Two conservative senators announced that they would oppose the reckless GOP plan to overhaul America’s health care system and drop millions from the health insurance rolls. This legislation emerged from secret negotiations and violated some of the most basic Iowa values we all hold dear.

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New GOP health care bill even worse for people with pre-existing conditions

Public policy experts, health care advocacy groups, and insurance industry representatives often don’t agree on how the government should regulate the sector that accounts for roughly one-sixth of our economy. But all have reached the same conclusion about the bill that may come to a vote in the U.S. Senate next week: the latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would cause Americans with chronic or expensive medical conditions to pay much higher rates or lose insurance coverage entirely.

Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have repeatedly said people with pre-existing conditions would be protected in any Republican bill to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Now, they are poised to break that promise.

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Iowans really, really don't like the Senate Republican health care bill

Only 27 percent of Iowans support the Senate Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey. By a 20-point margin, respondents said Senator Joni Ernst “should fix and improve our current health care law” rather than “continue trying to pass the Republican plan to repeal and replace it” when Congress goes back to work after the July 4 recess.

Those numbers reflect answers given before respondents had heard any negative messages about specific provisions in the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which Senate leaders hope to bring up for a vote soon.

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Senate bill would break health care promises from Grassley and Ernst

Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst say they are “continuing to carefully look through the revised health care discussion draft” released by Senate Republican leaders last week. Iowans who have called the senators’ offices are likewise hearing from staffers that Grassley and Ernst have not decided whether to support the GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

I suspect Iowa’s senators would rubber-stamp any GOP “health care” bill Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brings to the floor, for several reasons:

• None of the Washington-based reporters on this beat include Grassley or Ernst on their lists of Republican senators who may not support the bill.

• Reports speculating about special deals GOP Senate leaders may offer to lock down votes don’t refer to any additional spending geared toward Iowa.

• Neither Grassley nor Ernst made time to meet with Iowa hospital leaders who lobbied against the bill on a trip to Washington last week.

• Neither Grassley nor Ernst has bucked the party line on any important Senate vote that I can recall.

For now, let’s take Iowa’s senators at their word: they are still undecided and seeking input from constituents. If Grassley and Ernst intend to keep promises they’ve been making on health care policy, they need not spend any more time deliberating. They have ample reasons to vote against the Orwellian-named Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

Non-partisan analysis indicates that if this bill becomes law, tens of millions of Americans–including hundreds of thousands of Iowans–will have worse health insurance coverage or no coverage at all.

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