Sue Dinsdale is the executive director of Iowa Citizen Action Network. -promoted by Laura Belin
Nine years ago this week, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, giving us a chance and a choice when it comes to health insurance. But since that time there has been threat after threat against it. And each time it is threatened, everyday Americans have spoken out.
Here in Iowa and across the country, small business owners, students, retirees, farmers, workers, seniors, young people, veterans and other constituents have been telling our Members of Congress: Stop these cruel and careless threats on our health and financial security.
Last November voters across the country sent a message to lawmakers: Defend our health care or be voted out. Health care defined the 2018 midterm elections. Thirty-four House Republicans who voted to repeal the ACA, including two right here in Iowa, lost their seats.
Apparently, Iowa’s U.S. Senator Joni Ernst hasn’t been listening, because her war on health care continues. It’s disheartening to note that earlier this month, Ernst had a high-dollar fundraising event with the healthcare industry, after voting to confirm a circuit court judge who devised the legal strategy to undo the ACA. Our senator needs to fight for Iowans, not fight for funding from the healthcare industry.
Every attempt to repeal the ACA has included provisions that will raise health care premiums, deny access to health care for millions of Americans, and cause the collapse of the individual health insurance market.
Before the ACA, people with cancer, heart disease, and even pregnant women could be charged more for coverage or denied outright – being female was a pre-existing condition. People with diabetes who depend on insulin to regulate blood sugar, children with asthma, and women seeking fertility treatment could be priced out of coverage.
We can’t go back to the days when insurers could impose higher premiums on people with pre-existing conditions, or even worse, deny them coverage.
And now we hear that the Trump administration is working to completely destroy the Affordable Care Act, taking away the very protections that are saving our lives.
Instead of living the American dream, we are drowning under health care costs, confusion and the volatile market. The GOP betrayed us by trading Americans’ health care for tax cuts to wealthy corporations.
Senators Ernst and Chuck Grassley need to actually listen to their constituents. To stop sabotaging our health care. To stop playing party politics with our lives. It is way past time for those we elected to honor their commitment to us, to protect our health care.
We are not only counting on it; our lives depend on it.
Top image: U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (left) and others look on as President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. Photo by U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, via Wikimedia Commons.