Rushing To Vote Iowans Off Health Insurance

Grin and bear it with the press

We have seen this film before. Legislators propose new law that they claim will improve health care, but pushes millions off of health coverage, strips away protections in current law, tells cash-strapped states to pick up the tab, and gives big breaks to the wealthy who don’t need help.

Did you walk out of the theater the first two times? Will you stay for this one? More importantly, will our senators?

In the coming days, we will get an analysis of the new Senate bill from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis may come with little time in advance of a vote, as the Senate leadership is attempting to rush to a vote before the public, let alone Senate members, have a chance to fully evaluate it. (That is not new, either.)

We all need a sense of what to look for in the official analysis of the new proposal — not what Sen. Mitch McConnell or Sunday morning-show spin-masters tell us the bill would do.

First, what is the comparison point? To understand the impact on Iowans, the comparison should be to current law, not to previous proposals.

More than the minor changes it makes to the previous Senate bill, or how it differs from the House-passed bill, we need to know from the new official analysis how this bill differs from current law that has extended health coverage to tens of millions across the country, and some 200,000 in Iowa.

We know, for example, that about 150,000 Iowans are covered by only one piece of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the Medicaid expansion, and that this number will be 177,000 in 2019 if the expansion is preserved.

However, the Medicaid expansion would effectively be eliminated under the new Senate plan, as in the previous, stalled Senate proposal and the House-passed bill. In none of these proposals do we see opportunities to further increase access to insurance for those who are most vulnerable.

In the end, isn’t that what we would expect health care reform to do? Provide more coverage, more efficiently, to all? Continual tweaks in the Washington plans don’t change a fundamental problem: Millions nationally, and hundreds of thousands in Iowa, would lose health insurance.

Put in stark terms: When people lose health insurance, they can lose access to health care. When that happens, they become sicker. Or they take on debt they can never overcome. Some die.

Ultimately, our state leaders in Iowa — the governor and state legislators of both parties — might want to consider how they would cope with the result of this legislation. Are they content with the U.S. Senate and House pushing more budget problems onto their desks, and to Iowa taxpayers? That is the choice Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst will have in the coming days.


by Mike Owens
Posted 7/25/17

3 Comments on "Rushing To Vote Iowans Off Health Insurance"

  • We already know which choice they will make, and it’s not the one which will increase coverage and/or increase efficiency of health care. But that’ll be just fine, and Iowa’ll vote them in again, Ernst in 2018 and Grassley (if he doesn’t retire) in 2022. Cynical? Moi?

  • As a 78yr old, I feel that the Democrats did not publicly talk about how the bad parts of the ACA come about, what compromises were made to the Republicans to bring the ACA to reality, the direct reasons why states like Iowa will suddenly have health care problems, but beyond all that, when has any American heard about another disgusting situation that has a direct impact upon our health and health care: What about Trump wanting to make the EPA totally ineffective? How about Trump wanting to get rid of regulations, not only he, but what Republicans have wanted to do along with destroying medicare, medicaid and Social Security. Now, we know that Farm runoff and pesticides cause health problems, last Sunday morning on CBS Sunday morning was the first time ever that I saw a broad cast saying that toxics cause health problems. I have read articles telling me of the known health problems that occur within a 5 mile circle of nuclear plant operations. The lists goes on and on of the illnesses we receive from the air that we breathe and what I am saying is the with the Republicans not wanting to have regulations because of their greed, they are part of the direct cause to bad health in America by using their office of trust to make Healthcare unaffordable for the majority of Americans. I sorry but this 78yr old can not use nice here. The Republican unaffordable Care bill is the hypocrisy of the “Republican Jesus” – “Pro-Life” – “Compassionate Conservatism,” Republicans should be working at fixing The ACA health care than working at destroying health care for even one American.

  • Health care should be a basic and fundamental right for all Americans. With their cruel and callous attitude, the GOP is trying to deny health care to millions of low-income citizens. It seems that the GOP would prefer that many of these poor Americans get sick and die off at a young age. That way the government could cut back on social programs with a reduced population. The GOP wii get blown out of the water in 2018 unless they change their attitude.

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