Right now we have a reprieve on behalf of Americans who need and deserve health care. But we know this is just the beginning. Over the past few weeks Iowa Citizen Action Network has been reaching out to Iowans – small business owners, farmers, families, the self-employed, seniors and others – and what we are hearing is that health care is a major concern for them and that the plans being proposed in Washington DC are frightening and are having a destabilizing effect on our communities.
So those in Washington can’t fool us. We know that even though Republican Members of Congress have failed dozens of times in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they are still working for the rich and big business by proposing massive tax breaks for the wealthiest and the rest of us pay the price.
Yes, stopping the repeal of the ACA and cuts and caps in Medicaid was a huge victory for the Iowans who need it the most, but now we’re looking at $1.5 trillion cuts to Medicaid over the next ten years, once again to pay for billions in tax breaks to the super-rich and big business and targeting the very people who need it the most. Medicaid provides quality healthcare to babies, seniors, children, families and people with disabilities, ensuring they have access to the critical care they need making it possible for them to keep contributing to our local economy.
We hear a lot from politicians about small business owners and Main Street, about living the American Dream. We’re saying those we have elected need to start LISTENING to us instead of speaking FOR us.
Both Republican leadership and President Trump have been clear about their plans to further dismantle the health care system with cuts to Medicaid and Medicare–siphoning billions of dollars out of local economies.
With nearly 6.1 million small business owners and their employees enrolled in Medicaid, the uninsured rate has fallen to a historic low of 19.6%. That means a more financially stable community, and more money being circulated through local small businesses.
So why are Republicans in Congress working to change that? Their latest proposal would gut Medicaid, putting more strain on our communities and those of us who care for our aging loved ones. The lost funding would have a ripple effect throughout the state economy, affecting hospitals, other healthcare providers, and small businesses. Right now we need more investment and stability in our communities, not less.
The harsh reality is here in Iowa we have six elected Members of Congress and of those six, just one, Representative Loebsack, stood with us. Senator Grassley was more than willing to pull the plug on Grandma and Senator Ernst was putting lipstick on the pig rather than making Washington squeal. And we have no doubt there will be many more terrible things that hurt every day working families coming in the months ahead.
It’s time for Iowa’s Representatives and Senators to start working on strengthening the health care system and stop obsessing about repealing and replacing Obamacare. They need to stop talking about the American Dream and start listening to the dreams of Americans.
by Sue Dinsdale
Executive Director, ICAN