The Trump Administration decided this week to ask the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Trump Justice Department said it supported the Texas Judge who ruled in December to end the ACA in its entirety. The case will most certainly go to the Supreme Court, and it will put millions of Americans’ heath care at risk.
Hundreds of thousands of Iowans would lose their pre-existing condition protections, including Iowans that receive their insurance through their employers. Senator Ernst has been a cheerleader for the Republican ACA repeal crowd, and she will own this health care catastrophe if the ACA is destroyed. She has made repeal of the ACA a primary goal of her term in office.
The Trump decision has seriously divided the Republican Party since this may put many vulnerable Republicans at risk in 2020. Many of the successful Democrats elected in 2018 ran on guaranteeing pre-existing conditions and other patient health care features. Many Republican have warned Trump that destroying the ACA will doom many Republican candidates.
News reports mention three Republican Senators up for reelection in 2020 that are most at risk if the ACA is eliminated: Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner and Maine Senator Susan Collins. Collins has voted to preserve the ACA in earlier votes, but Ernst has been in lock step in calling for repeal since her election to the Senate.
If Trump is successful in killing the ACA, it would spawn monumental health care chaos. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, a health advocacy lobby for the ACA, issued the following statement about Ernst and Trump’s role in sabotaging Iowans’ health care:
“Like two sides of the same coin, Joni Ernst and the Trump Administration have worked relentlessly to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Today, they are one step closer to ripping health care away from millions of Iowans with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, or asthma. If this ruling isn’t overturned, Joni Ernst will roll back the clock and take Iowans back to the days where insurance companies had the power to once again deny, drop, or charge more for coverage. They will once again have the power to impose annual or lifetime limits and charge women and seniors more based on their age and gender. Make no mistake, these actions will hurt hundreds of millions of Iowans.”
The number of Iowans at risk of losing coverage if Trump and Ernst are successful is staggering.
Thousands of Iowans that gained health care through the ACA marketplace would lose their coverage. An additional 150,000 Iowans that gained health care under the Medicaid expansion would lose their coverage. And Iowans that receive healthcare through their employers would lose essential benefits as well without the ACA guarantees.
Over 1.2 million Iowans with pre-existing health conditions would lose their protections. More than 24,000 young adults covered under their parents plans until age 26 would lose that access. The 1.5 million Iowans with employer coverage would lose access to free preventive care and once again face lifetime or annual limits on coverage.
Senator Ernst can’t run away from her four-year assault on the ACA. If the ACA is destroyed, she will own this catastrophic loss of health care for Iowans.
by Rick Smith
Photo by Julie Fleming