On May 4th, Congressman Rod Blum voted to repeal the ACA. On May 9th, he stood in front of a packed gym at a town hall and admitted voting for it even though, in his words, he knew “it was a bad bill.” Had this vote passed, 2,700 Iowa veterans would have lost their health care. Contrary to what many believe, not all veterans receive their health care from the VA. 20 million veterans rely on other forms of insurance to help cover medical expenses. Of that number, 1.8 million veterans are covered by Medicaid. As a veteran, this concerns me.
The current tax bill that is before the House continues this assault on veteran health care. The proposed plan to cut taxes for the wealthy is largely paid for by cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. During the first two years of the Affordable Care Act, the rate of uninsured veterans fell by 3.7 percentage points. By making significant cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, those gains would be lost.
While stopping by the VA Outreach Center in Cedar Rapids today, I spoke with a Vietnam veteran who was deeply concerned about his health care situation through Medicare, as he is one of those not covered under the VA health care system.
I urge Congressman Blum to look closely at this bill and consider all the Iowans this will harm. I also urge the congressman to go meet some of the veterans face to face that will be impacted by this bill, so that maybe he will gain some understanding of their concerns. At the veterans event he held earlier this fall, Blum pledged to do all he could to help area veterans. Helping Iowa veterans doesn’t just mean awarding medals and taking photos. Rather, it means making sure that each veteran who does not qualify for VA benefits is given the opportunity for quality affordable health care when they return from service.
by Ben Hanson