A new grassroots organization in Iowa launched its first advertisement this morning targeting Republican Sen. Joni Ernst and her mixed voting record on health care.
Iowa Voices invested in the six-figure ad buy, airing in media markets across the state, to show Iowans how their junior U.S. senator has repeatedly taken votes to put their health insurance in jeopardy.
The 30-second ad features a Des Moines woman named Jennifer, a Navy combat veteran who has an autistic son.
“My son is autistic. He was born with a pre-existing condition,” said Jennifer, who served in Afghanistan. “I respect Joni Ernst’s military service, but I can’t respect her vote in Washington.”
The short video calls attention to the senator’s votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act [ACA], which requires insurance companies provide health care coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Ernst, up for reelection for the first time in 2020, told constituents at a recent town hall in Clinton, “It is imperative that we find a way to cover those that have pre-existing conditions so that we make sure they are being covered.”
Ernst said it was the “responsibility” of Congress to make sure insurance coverage was available to that population.
Today, oral arguments begin in Texas v. United States, a 2018 lawsuit filed by 18 officials in Republican-controlled states arguing the ACA is unconstitutional. The case will be heard in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, after a Texas judge in December ruled in favor of the Republicans.
If the ACA is repealed, an estimated 187,000 Iowans would lose their health insurance. And for the 1.3 million in the state with pre-existing medical conditions, their insurance protections would end.
Iowa Voices’ ad also jabs Ernst for the $1.8 million in “special interest” money she has taken since coming into the Senate.
“What I really respected about Joni Ernst is that she also served in the military,” Jennifer said. “So the problem is, that when Joni went to Washington she started taking money from special interests. Then, she voted to let insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.”
The Des Moines-based Iowa Voices launched its advocacy campaign last month with a press conference highlighting the health care experiences of Iowans directly impacted by policy decisions made in Washington and Des Moines.
Throughout the 2020 election cycle, Iowa Voices will travel across the state to “elevate the stories of working class Iowans to highlight how conservative health care and taxes policies have left them behind,” according to a statement.
By Elizabeth Meyer