Iowa reaction to health insurance reform bill passing

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the health insurance reform bill on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Iowa politicians from both parties have been responding to last night’s votes in the House of Representatives. After the jump I’ve posted lots of reaction quotes, plus some bonus embarrassing comments from Steve King.

The president is coming to Iowa City this Thursday to promote the health insurance reform bill:

Iowa City was where candidate Obama announced his health-care plan before the 2008 caucuses, when he was in a scrap with Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for the party’s presidential nomination.

A White House official said today the president will be in the state to “discuss how health insurance reform will lower costs for small businesses and American families and give them more control over their health care.”

I’ll be curious to see the public polling on this issue in Iowa. A new nationwide CNN poll released today showed that 39 percent of respondents support the Senate bill just approved by the House. Some 43 percent oppose the bill because it is “too liberal,” while 13 percent oppose the bill because it is “not liberal enough.” In other words, more than half the respondents either support the bill or (like me) feel it doesn’t go far enough.  

DEMOCRATIC REACTION:

Statement from Senator Tom Harkin (the first three links at the end lead to pdf files):

Harkin: House Vote Sends Strengthened Health Reform Measure to Senate

Comprehensive reform increases access to affordable care, makes health insurance companies more accountable and includes historic investment in prevention, wellness

Education reconciliation provisions increase college affordability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) issued the following statement after the U.S. House passed the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.  With this vote, comprehensive health reform has passed and will go to President Obama for his signature.  The reconciliation package now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration next week.  Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“With this vote today, the House took a major step forward in the fight to put American families and small business owners-not the insurance companies-in control of their own health care.

“This legislation makes the Senate-passed comprehensive bill even stronger by providing coverage to some 95 percent of Americans.  This will be affordable coverage, which will save thousands of lives and give peace of mind to those who have coverage now, but have a 50/50 chance of losing coverage in the next decade.  It will provide relief from skyrocketing and unstable premiums and holds insurance companies accountable to keep premiums down and prevent denials of care and coverage, including for pre-existing conditions.

“I am particularly encouraged that in passing comprehensive reform, we will, for the first time make an historic investment in prevention and public health to change our current sick care system into a true health care system.  These reforms will truly bend the cost curve and rein in rising health care costs.

“And we provide all of these reforms while also reducing the deficit by $138 billion over next ten years, and by $1.2 trillion more over the following decade; reducing waste, fraud and abuse, paying for quality over quantity of care.

“With the reconciliation package, the Senate is also on track to enact one of President Obama’s key education priorities – a move that will make college more affordable and accessible.  The measure eliminates billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies to banks and redirects that money to students and families in the form of increased Pell Grants to low-income college students, putting the priorities of students and families ahead of subsidies to lenders.

“We are on the cusp of history in this country.  I congratulate Speaker Pelosi and House leaders on this historic achievement and look forward to working in the Senate to get a final bill to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”  

For a list of the immediate health benefits of the bill, please click here.  

For a list of the key improvements to the bill, please click here.

For a list of the Harkin-led prevention benefits, please click here.

For more details about the education reconciliation proposal unveiled earlier this week, please click here.

Statement from Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01):

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) released the following statement today after voting to pass the Senate Health Care bill and House reconciliation package. Yesterday, Braley and a core group of other Representatives were able to achieve a major breakthrough in Medicare reimbursement policy that secured his vote for the bills.

“One of my biggest priorities has been fighting to fix unfair and inefficient geographic differences, and reform the Medicare system to one that pays Iowa’s medical professionals for the high-quality, low-cost health care they currently provide. Just yesterday, we achieved a major breakthrough in reforming our Medicare reimbursement system. I’m proud to say that the House bill will finally fix these inequities, move us to a better reimbursement model that emphasizes quality over quantity, and help recruit well-qualified health-care providers to Iowa.

“This bill will decrease health insurance costs, expand access to quality, affordable health care, improve reimbursements for Iowa medical providers and allow Americans to maintain their choice of health insurance. This legislation will provide much-needed relief for thousands of businesses in Iowa’s First District and will reduce our deficit by more than $143 billion over the next 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the 10 years after that. After reading the bill, listening to my constituents and debating the bill’s provisions in Congress, I’m convinced this legislation is good for Iowa.”

In Iowa’s First District, the health care reform package voted upon tonight will:

· Improve coverage for 394,000 residents with health insurance.

· Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 156,000 families and 14,000 small businesses to help them afford coverage.

· Improve Medicare for 102,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.

· Extend coverage to 16,000 uninsured residents.

· Guarantee that 6,500 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

· Protect 700 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

· Allow 50,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.

· Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 11 community health centers.

· Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $54 million annually.

Statement from Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02):

“This health care bill will put patients over insurance company profits, and reverse the increasingly disturbing trends in our health care system. This bill ends the worst insurance industry practices, and takes steps towards giving Iowans with insurance, as well as those without insurance, the piece of mind that comes with having stable, quality health care.

“With the cost saving measures included in this bill, and the Medicare agreement that I was able to help secure yesterday, we are taking serious strides towards reigning in exploding health care costs and giving taxpayers more for their money.

“The Medicare agreement will finally shift our nation’s health care system to one in which patients receive quality care, and health care providers are rewarded for making patients healthy. By securing this agreement, we move America towards the fiscal responsibility and efficiency that makes Iowa a model for fundamental reform. This change to the Medicare payment system is the right thing to do, and I am proud that I was able to help Iowa patients and America’s taxpayers finally get a fair deal.

“This bill is not perfect and the process that has been chosen is not perfect either. However, I cannot tell the Iowans who attended my town halls, called my office, and emailed me asking for reform, that I did not vote for this bill because I had concerns about the process. And I certainly cannot tell my constituents that I chose to bend to the political ploys and distortions that are being perpetuated about this complex bill instead of standing up for Iowa families. Despite my qualms with some provisions contained in the bill and the road that led to this evening’s vote, I cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

“This evening I voted for the 416,000 Iowans in the district whose insurance will be strengthened, the 156,000 families and the 13,700 small businesses that will receive tax credits and assistance, the 95,000 Iowans who will receive better treatment through Medicare, the 54,000 young adults who will be able to remain on their parent’s insurance plans, and for my children and grandchildren, whose stake in the national deficit will be reduced by $130 billion over the next ten years. Today, I cast my vote for the Second District of Iowa.”

Statement from Representative Leonard Boswell (IA-03):

Boswell Votes to Make Health Care Coverage More Affordable, Accessible and Stable

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Leonard Boswell voted for and the House passed H.R. 4872, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, in a major step forward toward making health care coverage more affordable, accessible, and stable for Iowa’s families, small business owners, and seniors.

“After years of fighting for a health care system that puts patients before profits, I voted today for legislation that levels the playing field for all Iowans by holding the health insurance industry accountable and preventing denials of care and coverage, including for preexisting conditions,” Boswell said. “I voted to make health insurance more affordable for the middle class and small businesses and to finally put American families and businesses in control of their own health care.”

H.R. 4872 will have immediate benefits within the first year of enactment.

“Iowans will begin to see improvements in the health care system almost immediately after H.R. 4872 is signed into law,” Boswell said. “Small businesses will be offered tax credits to cover their employees’ health insurance. Seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D donut hole in 2010 will automatically receive a $250 rebate. Within six months of enactment, children will no longer be denied coverage for preexisting conditions and parents will be allowed to keep their children on their coverage plans up to their 26th birthday.”

This legislation will also begin to remedy the disparity in Medicare reimbursement payments to Iowa’s doctors and hospitals.

“As a member of the congressional Quality Care Coalition that negotiated for fair reimbursements throughout the legislative process, my vote today will begin an important process to start paying Iowa doctors for the care they provide not the number of services they conduct,” Boswell said. “The House reform bill will begin paying doctors and hospitals more fairly by increasing their base pay in the Medicare payment system. By ensuring fair payments for our providers, we will improve access for our health care consumers and continue to create a more efficient and value-based system for Iowans.”

Additionally, this legislation creates a system of state-based health insurance exchanges, based on what is currently offered to federal government employees, which allow small business owners, the uninsured, and the underinsured to view a menu of insurance options and select a plan that is affordable and meets their needs.

Other important provisions in H.R. 4872 include: No denial of coverage for preexisting conditions for everyone by 2014; No cancelling policies of people who get sick; Rebates and prescription drug discounts for seniors to close the Medicare Part D donut hole; and Health care tax credits for those who meet certain income thresholds.

H.R. 4872 will also reduce the deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years and by $1.2 trillion more over the following decade by reining in waste, fraud and abuse, and paying for the quality not quantity of care.

Statement from Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie:

Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie (D-Emmetsburg) said today that he feels the passage by the United States House of Representatives of health care reform will be beneficial to Iowans that currently are having problems with the cost of health insurance, are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or are uninsured.

“I am extremely proud of Representatives Leonard Boswell, Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley for their courage in standing up to the onslaught of falsehoods and outright lies about this bill. I am especially pleased with the efforts of Congressman Braley in working to provide so long overdue equity in Medicare payments to Iowa’s provider community.”

Kibbie also said, “While there is still much to do in terms of cost control, the coverage of an additional 32 million Americans is a substantial accomplishment. I am confident this bill can win Senate approval and I urge those in opposition to remain constructive in their arguments and civil in their characterizations of this landmark legislation.”

Statement from Iowa State Senator Jack Hatch:

Des Moines: State Senator Jack Hatch of Des Moines tonight applauded the passage of comprehensive health care legislation in the United States House of Representatives.

“Now that federal reform has passed, I intend to work just as hard to make sure that Iowa’s health care initiative, SF 2356, becomes law this spring. The bill now before the Iowa House will help keep our state a national leader in high quality, affordable health care, especially when it comes to our children and improving access for rural residents,” said Hatch.

“The passage of federal health care reform is an historic step forward for families in Iowa,” said Hatch, “I am proud to stand with the more than 1,000 other state legislators from around our great nation who worked together over the past year to support health care reform. State legislators have long been on the front lines of the battle for better, more accessible and more affordable health care for their constituents, and their leadership was critical to making this victory for American families possible.”

Hatch, who has worked with the White House as Chair of the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform, organized an 86-member group of state legislators from around the country. The group has worked with the Progressive States Network (PSN) for the past 10 months for passage of meaningful legislation.

Background:

In 2009, over 1,000 state legislators from all 50 states signed a letter to President Obama and Congress in support of comprehensive health care reform. Over the past year, those legislators, working with Progressive States Network, advocated continually for federal reform legislation that would include strong affordability protections, shared responsibility among individuals, employers and government for health care costs, and a strong public health insurance option.

Statement from Iowa Democratic Party Chair Michael Kiernan:

“Today we made history. President Obama and Democrats in Congress achieved what Presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have attempted – to pass comprehensive health insurance reform to help the American people. This is a victory for all Iowans. With this landmark legislation, we will have a health care system that works for Iowans, not insurance companies.

“Health insurance reform will provide unprecedented protections for every American consumer and will put health care decisions back into the hands of families, not insurance companies. American families will feel the impact of this legislation immediately. Insurance companies will no longer be permitted to deny coverage to children and adults due to a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies will no longer be permitted to kick students off of their parent’s health insurance when they reach the age of 26. And insurance companies will no longer be permitted to drop insurance for hard-working people all across the country because they get sick.

“This legislation is the single greatest deficit reduction package since President Clinton’s 1993 budget, which ushered in an era of budget surpluses and economic growth. It will reduce the deficit by over a trillion dollars in the next twenty years and put us back on a path to fiscal responsibility, all while providing coverage to 95 percent of all Americans.

“Today, Iowans thank President Obama and Iowa Democrats like Congressmen Braley, Loebsack and Boswell for their strong leadership, commitment to the middle class and continued work to make America a better place. This reform will better the lives of millions of Americans, and for that Democrats should be commended.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Reconciliation Act of 2010, which are expected to be signed into law by President Obama within days, will offer immediate benefits to millions of Americans through key provisions including:

1. SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS-Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, the small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)

2. BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE-Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)

3. FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE-Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.

4. HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES-Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees for health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment.

5. ENDS RESCISSION-Bans insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.

6. NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS-Prohibits new health plans in all markets plus grandfathered group health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to all persons.)

7. BANS LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE-Prohibits health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.

8. BANS RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE-Tightly restricts the use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care in all new plans and grandfathered group health plans. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all new plans and grandfathered group health plans.)

9. FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PRIVATE PLANS-Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment.

10. NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS-Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions by their health insurance plan. Effective 6 months after enactment.

11. ENSURING VALUE FOR PREMIUM PAYMENTS-Requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent. Insurers that do not meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.

12. IMMEDIATE HELP FOR THE UNINSURED UNTIL EXCHANGE IS AVAILABLE (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL)-Provides immediate access to affordable insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition – through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool. Effective 90 days after enactment.

13. EXTENDS COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE – Requires new health plans and certain grandfathered plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.

14. COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS-Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly a doubling of the number of patients seen by the centers over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

15. INCREASING NUMBER OF PRIMARY CARE DOCTORS-Provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.

16. PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY-Prohibits group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective 6 months after enactment.

17. HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER INFORMATION-Provides aid to states in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in FY 2010.

18. CREATES NEW, VOLUNTARY, PUBLIC LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE PROGRAM-Creates a long-term care insurance program to be financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide home and community-based services to adults who become functionally disabled. Effective on January 1, 2011.

Statement from U.S. Senate candidate Bob Krause:

Bob Krause, Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate, issued the following statement today commending Democrats in Iowa’s Congressional delegation for their role in passing the historic health care reform legislation Sunday night. He also encouraged Senator Charles Grassley to shift his position to favor needed health care reform now that the filing deadline has passed and Grassley no longer has to be concerned about having a primary opponent. His complete statement follows:

“It became obvious to many last summer — when Senator Grassley was concerned about ‘Granny’s plug being pulled’ as part of the pending health care reform package — that Senator Grassley had suddenly shifted to the far right to protect his base from a threatened primary assault from extremists in his party. At that time, he abandoned many positions that he had previously taken on health care.

Now that the primary filing deadline has passed, Senator Grassley no longer has to be concerned about a primary from the right within his own party. It is time for Senator Grassley to move back to his previous positions and support the necessary amendments to the House-passed Health Care Reform package as offered in a separate bill — especially since it will contain many of the provisions that he has previously supported.

“While the bill is not as progressive as I would have preferred, it is a positive step forward for all Americans and for all Iowans. If Senator Grassley decides to support this bill, it would do much to dilute some of the partisan venom that has become increasingly ugly in recent years. I sincerely hope that he will cease being part of the problem and become part of the solution on making health care more accessible to his constituents.”

REPUBLICAN REACTION

Senator Chuck Grassley Twittered on Sunday, “Flying bk DC Sun aftrnoon instead of Mon morn to get ahead of curve on Health/Stupak move “shocked”me I thought his stance wld hv kild bill”

Later his office released this statement:

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today said he will offer an amendment during Senate debate on the health care reconciliation bill this week to apply the reform legislation to the President, Vice President, cabinet members and top White House staff.

“It’s pretty unbelieveable that the President and his closest advisors remain untouched by the reforms they pushed for the rest of the country. In other words, President Obama’s health care reform won’t apply to President Obama,” Grassley said. “Last December, the effort to apply any new law to administration political leaders was rejected by the Senate Majority Leader. But there’s no justification for the double standard, and I’ll continue to work to establish fairness.”

The Senate legislation passed last night by the House of Representatives includes an amendment Grassley sponsored and got adopted by the Finance Committee last fall to have members of Congress and their staffs get their health insurance through the same health insurance exchanges where health plans for the general public would be available. During the closed-door negotiations on the bill late last year, the Senate Majority Leader carved out Senate committee and leadership staff from this requirement.

Subsequently, Grassley and Senator Tom Coburn attempted to offer another amendment to restore the requirement during Senate debate on the health care bill, but the Senate Majority Leader would not let their amendment to fix this loophole even come up for a vote. In addition to Senate committee and leadership staff, the amendment Grassley and Coburn filed during the Senate debate would have made the President, the Vice President, top White House staff and cabinet members all get their health insurance through the newly created exchanges. It would not have applied to federal employees in the civil service.

Grassley said, “It’s only fair and logical that top administration officials, who fought so hard for passage of this overhaul of America’s health care system, experience it themselves. If it’s as good as promised, they’ll know it first-hand. If there are problems, they’ll be able to really understand them, as they should.”

Grassley said the motivation for his amendments is simple: public officials who make the laws or lead efforts to have laws changed should live under those laws.

“This is the same principle that motivated me to pursue legislation over 20 years ago to apply civil rights, labor and employment laws to Congress,” Grassley said. Before President Clinton signed into law Grassley’s long-sought Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, Congress had routinely exempted itself.

The Congressional Accountability Act made Congress subject to 12 laws, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Veteran’s Employment and Reemployment Rights at Chapter 43 of Title 38 of the U.S. Code, and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1989.

Today, Grassley is working to make sure Congress lives up to the same standards it imposes on others with legislation such as his Congressional Whistleblower Protection Act.

Statement from Representative Tom Latham (IA-04):

WASHINGTON, DC – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham issued the following statement on Sunday after voting against the Democrat majority’s government takeover of health care:

“The overwhelming lesson learned from tonight’s vote is that Washington has no interest in listening to the American people. Iowans have made it clear their top health care priority is lower health insurance premiums and lower health care costs without threatening their own access to health care. Not one provision in the thousands of pages of the Democrat bill will lower premiums or costs by a single penny. Instead this bill imposes new taxes, fees and iron-fisted federal mandates on health care providers, employers and citizens during the most uncertain economic times in a generation. Americans deserve better from their leaders in Washington.”

Representative Steve King (IA-05) released two statements:

“The majority of Americans, including the tens of thousands of patriots who poured into Washington, DC this weekend, will not stand by while Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi tear the Constitution to shreds. This bill forces Americans to pay for other people’s abortions, puts the government in charge of 18 percent of our private sector economy, provides health care benefits to illegal immigrants, cuts half a trillion dollars from Medicare and diminishes our liberty.

“Americans across the country are outraged that liberals have made an unconstitutional bill full of special interest bribes the law of the land. Democrats will pay a price for their overreach. This fight is far from over. Now the work begins to repeal this monstrosity and restore the principles of freedom that made America a great nation.”

King to Introduce Bill to Repeal Obamacare

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today made the following statement about legislation he will introduce that will completely repeal Obamacare.

“Today the work begins to repeal Obamacare and restore the principles of liberty that made America a great nation. The American people must take their country back by methodically eliminating every vestige of creeping socialism, including socialized medicine. The Pelosi Democrats will pay a price for their overreach. This fight is far from over.”

By the way, here was King’s reaction to the disgraceful behavior of tea party protesters outside the Capitol on Saturday:

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a leading voice in the tea party movement, said Sunday that protesters’ recent use of racial and homophobic slurs toward Members of Congress was no big deal.

“I just don’t think it’s anything,” King said, emphasizing that the incidents were isolated. “There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.”

To focus on a few incidents is “embellishing something that is determined to undermine the people,” said the Iowa conservative.

King’s remarks come a day after tea party protesters spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and shouted a racial slur at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); both are African-American. A protester also shouted a sexual slur at Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is openly gay.

Sunday night, King addressed about 250 tea party protesters after the House approved the health care bill:

“I just came down here,” said King, “so I could say to you, God bless you.”

“God bless you!” shouted one activist.

“We’re here whenever you need us!” said another activist, patting King on the back.

“You are the awesome American people,” said King. “If I could start a country with a bunch of people, they’d be the folks who were standing with us the last few days. Let’s hope we don’t have to do that! Let’s beat that other side to a pulp! Let’s chase them down. There’s going to be a reckoning!”

Statement from Terry Branstad:

“All of us who care about the future for our kids and grandchildren must be concerned about the actions of Congress on health care. At a time that our country is facing trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, we can ill-afford another trillion dollars of spending by the federal government.

“The so-called funding for the package is more tax increases, massive cuts in Medicare for our elderly and unfunded mandates for states already struggling under huge Medicaid burdens.

“Let there be no mistake: we need health care reform. The costs of care are crushing many Iowa families.

“But adding more spending, taxes and unfunded mandates to the burden Iowans already carry is not the solution. Given the massive scope and effect of this bill, it is likely that various provisions will be challenged in the courts. Those challenges are both timely and appropriate.”

For more information on the Governor Branstad 2010 campaign, please visit http://www.GovernorBranstad201…

Statement from IA-01 GOP candidate Ben Lange:


From the beginning of my campaign, I’ve made sound health care reform a centerpiece of my conservative message and agenda throughout the 1st Congressional District. Unfortunately, the health care bill that was passed today over the objections of the American people will fail to achieve the stated goals of lowering costs and health insurance premiums. The bill will add to our national debt and, as important, it will do so at the expense of constitutional principles of limited government and states’ rights. Today is a sad day for our local communities, our states, and our country.

With the passage of this bill, leftist Democrats and the liberal Democrat incumbent here in my home district have pierced fundamental principles underlying limited government. They have now employed the full powers of the federal government against individual citizens by ordering them to purchase health insurance from private companies against their will and directing the IRS to issue punitive fines to those individuals who choose not to comply.

This is not the role of the federal government, and I’m encouraged that Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida will reportedly challenge this action and fight for our freedoms guaranteed by the 10th Amendment and our Constitution. I encourage the Iowa Attorney General to join this fight and live up to our state’s creed: “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”

Freedom is not inevitable. Freedom is earned. Freedom is protected — not only in far away lands, but also here at home. This federal encroachment is offensive to Iowans from across the political spectrum who cherish the liberties that our ancestors and forefathers fought and died for. We are stewards of these freedoms for future generations, and today these freedoms suffered a major defeat.

Iowans will remember this day. Bruce Braley, the liberal Democrat incumbent, told the Iowa Press just a few short months ago that voters will judge him in November based on how well he listens to voters. After siding with Nancy Pelosi on every major piece of legislation — including TARP, cap-and-tax, bailouts of big banks and auto companies, increasing the national debt ceiling twice, and increasing federal spending to historic and dangerous levels — he has once again ignored the voice of his district and cast his lot with Ms. Pelosi and a leftist philosophy at the expense of Eastern Iowans. A voter may begin to wonder whether he has taken his job for granted.

Statement from IA-02 GOP candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks:


OTTUMWA, Iowa – Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican candidate for Congress in Iowa’s Second Congressional District, released the following statement today on Democrat Dave Loebsack’s vote in favor of a trillion-dollar health care bill that will kill jobs, cut Medicare, raise taxes, and hand a number of special deals to swing-state Democrats to buy their support for the bill:

“Dave Loebsack hasn’t yet found a spending bill he could turn down. After voting for Wall Street bailouts, a trillion dollar stimulus bill that did nothing to curb unemployment, voting to raise our national debt by two trillion dollars, and voting for a budget that spends more money than any time in our nation’s history, Dave Loebsack today voted for a trillion dollar health bill that will kill jobs, cut Medicare and raise taxes. That’s a shame and Iowa deserves better.

“As a doctor and small businesswoman, I know that the only way we will achieve affordable, quality health care is by focusing on patient-centered, cost-cutting reforms such as tort reform, individual ownership of insurance plans and interstate purchasing of insurance plans. A new costly entitlement program that expands government by creating nearly 160 new bureaucracies, agencies and departments is not the way to go. Already, one of America’s largest manufacturers, Caterpillar, is saying this bill will increase its employee health care costs by 20 percent in the first year alone. Last week, 130 economists agreed this bill will kill jobs and cut wages – a terrible burden on an already struggling economy.

“While Democrats claim this bill will cut the deficit by over $1 trillion, they ignore the fact that the FY-2011 budget is projected to add $1 trillion every year over the next 10 years to our national debt. Their health reform cost estimate also leaves out a critical $371 billion fix to protect hospitals and health care providers from seeing a significant cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. Although this reimbursement fix was in the original House bill, and Speaker Pelosi has said they will pass it later this year, it has been removed temporarily to masquerade the true cost of the Democrats health bill. Add that onto the number of special deals for specific swing-state Democrats to sweeten the bill, and you have a corrupt process jamming through a bill America doesn’t want.

“As eastern Iowa’s next member of Congress, I would always fight for taxpayers, families and seniors and put an end to the reckless taxing, spending and borrowing that liberal Dave Loebsack has supported and that’s putting America on a dangerous fiscal path towards bankruptcy in the years to come.”

Statement from IA-02 GOP candidate Chris Reed:

Marion, IA – Christopher Reed, Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District, responded to today’s historic healthcare reform vote by stating, “Today, common sense has been thrown to the wolves. Partisan politics and a radical agenda have hijacked the people of this country and grabbed control of a portion of our economy that is greater than the entire GDP of Great Britain. ”

Reed added, “By voting yes on this outrageous health control plan, my opponent, incumbent Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA), has demonstrated his contempt for the decent people of Iowa. Mr. Loebsack has vehemently stated that he cares more about himself and his party than the future generations of our country.”

“As freedom-loving Americans, we inherently know it is not right to forfeit liberties and delegate unnecessary authority to a totalitarian regime. As freedom-loving Americans, we came together and in one unified voice cried out “No More”. As freedom-loving Americans, we must remain diligent and continue to fight for our freedoms and liberties. I applaud all Americans who stood in the gap these past few months and demanded representation by contacting their elected officials and reminding them that ‘We the People’ are in charge.”

Reed continues, “When I am elected to Congress in November 2010, I will fight to rescind this bill, as it violates the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. I will stand with the new Governor of Iowa to ensure that all Iowans continue to be free and their unalienable rights are no longer tread upon by those in Washington D.C. ”

For more information visit http://www.ReedforIowa.com or call Reed Campaign headquarters at 319.241.0565.

Statement from IA-02 GOP candidate Rob Gettemy:

Congressman Dave Loebsack votes in direct opposition to the majority of his constituents.

(Marion, IA) March 21, 2010 “Today, Congressman Dave Loebsack voted against the clear wishes of his constituents by supporting a legislative bag of tricks to pass the healthcare plan Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barrack Obama want to impose on the American people.

Far from meeting President Obama’s stated goals of reducing health care costs, this plan will create the greatest expansion of entitlements ever undertaken. While the Democratic leadership in Washington talks about how this plan could reduce the deficit, they don’t explain that this is not done through cost savings. Instead, there is a massive new government bureaucracy planned which will raise a multitude of taxes. Any healthcare plan that includes hiring thousands of IRS agents cannot be a good thing.

It is not by accident that most of the innovation in health care happens in the United States because we are different than the rest of the world. We are better! We encourage innovation, which drives improvement. The health care bill Dave Loebsack voted for today will kill innovation. It will push the best and brightest doctors out of medicine. It will result in a much lower level of care for future generations.

Loebsack, Obama, Pelosi and Reid have framed the debate in terms that suggest those who do not support their bill prefer the status quo. This is misinformed at best and a lie at worst. There are alternative ideas that will strengthen America’s healthcare system. These alternatives will not sell out America’s core values as the plan voted on today will. Alternative ideas include: individual ownership of our healthcare plans which provides portability; allowing competition across state lines; tort reform; and Health Savings Accounts which actually give consumers incentive to be good stewards of their healthcare dollars.

In reality, this healthcare fight is a small battle in a war of differing world views. In the Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Loebasck world view, the great American experiment is a failure. They don’t believe Americans are smart enough to make good decisions. Personally, I believe in American Exceptionalism. I believe in the people. Our founders had great wisdom in knowing that rights cannot be legislated, but instead come from our Creator. They further understood that liberty is freedom to make decisions for ourselves and our families.

We must stop this progressive view in its tracks, or we compromise the very foundation that makes the United States the great country it is. America is exceptional, but our generation and our current politicians have not been good stewards of that “Exceptionalism.”

Statement from IA-03 GOP candidate Dave Funk:

Leonard Boswell and the Democrats in Washington have force fed the American people more unconstitutional legislation that is bad for Iowa. This takeover of our health insurance system is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights of citizens by mandating the purchase of a service. This legislation as been pushed through behind closed doors and it violates the public trust of each and every citizen, who deserves the chance to see it in the full light of day. The taxes which will start immediately will do more harm to an already weakened economy and do further damage to businesses everywhere.

“I call on each and every elected Republican to lead the charge to repeal this bill before it can fully take effect in 2013. I will press for legislation which returns every dollar, with interest, that has been unconstitutionally taken from the people and businesses of our country.” Dave said “If we want to establish our credibility as limited government conservatives once again we need candidates leading the charge who will fight for you and I will go to Washington to return that power to the people.”

For more information contact Ryan at Ryan@FunkforCongress.com or 515.441.0173

Statement from IA-03 GOP candidate Brad Zaun:

“The same government that pays a hundred dollars for a hammer is now in charge of our health care system. In the long run, costs will rise, regulation will rise and access to health care will be delayed. This is the lesson from every country in the world that has allowed government bureaucrats to run health care. Congressman Boswell will understand the people’s dissatisfaction and outrage at the ballot box this November. The next Congress, of which I hope to be a part of, will need to return power to patients and doctors.

Statement from IA-03 GOP candidate Jim Gibbons:

Yesterday, Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) said of Congressional House rules “we make them up as we go along.” That statement certainly underlines the last 13 months of the health care debate. In Washington D.C. on Sunday night and under the cover of darkness, House Democrats, along with Leonard Boswell and Nancy Pelosi, passed a health care reform bill filled with kickbacks and back room deals. My friends, the process in Washington D.C. is broken. It is time for a new way forward.

Never before has our government been hijacked by such an out-of-touch group of people as we have serving us today. For example, in an effort to bolster support of the bill in a struggling economy, Nancy Pelosi said that this bill would create jobs, stimulate small business, and pave the way for economic recovery. Indeed, she is correct, as 16,500 IRS jobs are being created to collect newly-levied taxes upon the American people. Pelosi and Boswell are in fact creating jobs – government jobs. The losers in this health care debacle are those American firms that truly create wealth in this country.

When I have visited small and large businesses throughout this district, one thing is clear: there is fear in the marketplace. Businesses that have capital and can invest are waiting on the sidelines because entrepreneurs and business leaders have a growing lack of trust in what is happening in Washington. As regulation upon regulation is heaped upon them, as has been done with this health care bill, businesses become insecure about the future. We must restore faith to our firms. I want to put the trust back in the hands of business leaders who are responsible for making payroll every two weeks and not Washington politicians.

Throughout the debate on health care we were promised there would be transparency, that everyone would have time to read and understand the legislation before it was voted on. But there are multiple versions of the health care bill and no one seems to know which parts will be put in to law and what parts have to be taken out with a “fix-it” bill. The truth about this bill, which should be factual and obvious, is instead opaque and elusive. That promise of transparency was broken by the liberals in Washington and by my Congressman, Leonard Boswell.

Back room deals have dominated this health care debacle. The “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” and private rides on Air Force One at taxpayer expense were all used to convince representatives to abandon their constituent’s wishes and vote on a bill America doesn’t want and can’t afford. If the Government is going to return to the people then politicians in Washington must stop hiding behind expensive taxpayer funded kickbacks and shady deals. We need accountability and transparency in Washington, not Chicago-style politics.

My friends, it is time to send tough-minded people to Washington who will be honest with the American people. We Americans are a resilient people who demand honesty and integrity in our leaders. Tonight, as politicians back-slapped each other, leadership was lacking and the American people were failed. It is time for a new way forward.

Statement from Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn:

“Instead of working for bipartisan reforms that most Iowans could support, Iowa’s congressional Democrats chose a partisan approach that amounts to a staggering, half-a-trillion dollar cost to the American taxpayer while giving the federal government an unprecedented amount of control over personal health care decisions.

“The blatant disregard shown for the opinions of everyday Iowans who oppose this partisan bill is offensive enough, but it is unconscionable for Congressmen Boswell, Braley and Loebsack to force another $562 billion in debt on our children and grandchildren.”

Iowa College Republican leadership statement:

Iowa Federation of College Republican Chairman Dane Nealson and Vice Chairman Matt Sexton released the following statement regarding this evening’s vote in Congress on health care reform:

“It is with great disappointment this evening that many of our young people in Iowa and around the country have watched a Democratic-controlled government sell out our generation and those after us with a trillion-dollar, flawed health care overhaul. We are at a critical time in this country, with high unemployment and low economic growth, and a plan to punish our country’s future with massive tax increases and trillions in debt is a travesty.

“A bill with no respect for our future generations, no respect for human life, and no respect for the dignity of the American people is nothing short of tyranny, and America’s young minds will not stand by idly as Democratic members of Congress are bought off by their party leadership. All the emotional appeals in the world do not compensate for the fact that this bill will increase our deficit, raise taxes, and unconstitutionally fine Americans for not purchasing health care.

“Every sweeping social reform in this country’s history has been done in a bipartisan fashion. The irony that the “post-partisan” president that America voted for not 18 months ago has gridlocked Washington and forced the American people to accept this terrible piece of legislation for nothing more than to save his poll numbers and reflect on his “historic” contribution to American society. Just because it is historic does not make the cold reality of the bill any less painful for future generations. We look forward to righting this wrong in November, when America sends a message to Washington D.C. that the actions of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid’s Congress over the past year are not acceptable.”

UPDATE: Statement from gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats:

Vander Plaats Pleased to See Roberts Follow His Lead, Awaits Word from Branstad on Socialized Health

Mar 22, 2010

ATLANTIC – Noting that one of his opponents for the Republican gubernatorial nomination has followed his pledge to invoke the constitution’s 10th Amendment to protect Iowans from the government-run health care system approved by Congress Sunday night, Bob Vander Plaats today called on former Gov. Terry Branstad to tell Iowans whether he will “stand up or cave in to this federal power grab.”

Vander Plaats announced Thursday that, as governor, his legislative agenda would include a measure protecting Iowans from being forced into a federal health-care program.

He said the measure, which would be modeled after a Virginia proposal, would state that “No law shall restrict a person’s natural right and power of contract to secure the blessings of liberty to choose private health care systems or private plans. No law shall interfere with the right of a person or entity to pay for lawful medical services to preserve life or health, nor shall any law impose a penalty, tax, fee, or fine, of any type, to decline or to contract for health care coverage or to participate in any particular health care system or plan, except as required by a court where an individual or entity is a named party in a judicial dispute. Nothing herein shall be construed to expand, limit or otherwise modify any determination of law regarding what constitutes lawful medical services within Iowa.”

On Saturday, state Rep. Rod Roberts of Carroll introduced amendments with a similar intent to two bills in the current legislative session.  “I’m pleased that Rod Roberts knows a good idea when he sees one. Iowans would like to know if Terry Branstad also recognizes the importance of standing against the federal takeover of health care or whether he’s going to surrender our rights with more go-along, get-along, status quo politics.”

Vander Plaats said the Democrats’ vote on health care is “federalism run amok at best and, at worse, a big step toward socialism.”

“Either way, it is an assault on our individual freedom that will consolidate more power in hands of a few within the federal government.  I’ve said I’ll stand against that kind of intrusion,” Vander Plaats said. “We know Chet Culver won’t. That’s why we must replace him. But, as Republicans, my party must nominate a bold leader who gets out in front of issues like health care first instead of playing it safe. I have a proven record of being that kind of leader.”

# # # #

Gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts outlined over the weekend how he would react to federal health care reform passing.

Republican gubernatorial candidate State Representative Rod Roberts filed an amendment to two bills in the Iowa House yesterday that could make it possible to challenge the constitutionality of President Obama’s plan to nationalize the health care industry, which could occur as soon as Sunday. Roberts filed the amendment to both SF 2201 and SF 2356. The Roberts Amendment would prohibit federal laws that require Iowans to purchase particular health care plans or that restrict Iowans’ ability to choose their own health care plan.

“If President Obama and Democrats in Washington, D.C., force health care decisions upon Iowans, I will stand up for the people of Iowa and defend our state’s sovereignty,” said Roberts, an Assistant Minority Leader in the Iowa House of Representatives. “Now is the time for action. I have a plan to defend Iowans’ constitutional rights.”

Roberts said that if the federal government passes a nationalized health care plan that conflicts with the Roberts Amendment, as governor he will file a lawsuit in federal court against President Obama to have the plan struck down as a violation of Iowans’ Tenth Amendment rights. The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that powers not delegated to the federal government (such as the regulation of health insurance) are reserved for the states.

“President Obama’s health care plan is an unprecedented power-grab by the federal government that would severely hinder states’ rights. Allowing the nationalization of health care would result in an even larger federal government, higher government spending, higher taxes, and less individual liberty,” said Roberts, a five-term State Representative from Carroll. “President Obama’s plan is unconstitutional, and with my amendment, I will bring a lawsuit against President Obama to have his health care plan struck as a violation of Iowans’ Tenth Amendment rights.”

Other states across the country-such as Virginia-have enacted laws similar to the Roberts Amendment.  Roberts also co-sponsored the Health Freedom Act last month, which makes the Roberts Amendment the second bill that Roberts has supported this session to challenge the nationalization of the U.S. health care industry. Roberts’s plan to use the amendment to bring a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the constitutionality of President Obama’s nationalized health care plan is consistent with what state attorney generals and governors are doing throughout the United States.

“I believe in limited government, whether it is at the state or federal level,” said Roberts, who has consistently opposed tax increases as a legislator. “As governor, I will not only reduce taxes and place constitutional limits on state spending to keep state government small, but I will not hesitate to resort to the judicial process through the use of the Tenth Amendment to limit the size of the federal government, too.”

  • Steve King

    As some of you already know, I live in the 5th District with Steve King as my representative.  His actions of the last days in the Capitol and with his votes, sadden me and also embarrass me to tell people where I am from.

    Please Help Retire Steve King, go to Denklau for Congress and contribute if you can.

    We have to get actual representation in the 5th District, and Mike is the guy to do it.  He is a young, intelligent, energetic man, who can beat Steve King if we help him.  

    Steve’s popularity is not as good as it once was, as the people in the 5th district who voted for him as a representative, are not amused with the clown they have had for the last while.

    • Oh, Granny, I'm standing with you...

      …in both my shame at my Representative, King, and my determination to get this BASTARD out of office, once and for all!  

       I want to put an end to the Western Iowa jokes and humiliation. Just today, on KOS, we got called inhabitants of “the land of empty spaces, empty minds, and hog manure”…we were called a “bunch of idiotic, home educating, Right wing religious” nut jobs (wow!  Double whammy!  I homeschooled my kids, too!).  

       None of this it true.  We have an Idiot for our Congressman.  Let’s show the rest of Iowa (the sneering ones, on the east side 😉 and the world that we’re not going to tolerate this monster any longer.  

      • Prairie Girl, Thanks for standing with me,

        but please stand with Mike Denklau and help him any way you can.  We have to get Steve King retired this fall.  I can’t wait for the maybe of him losing with the redistricting and I know I can’t stand 2 more years of this clown.

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