Today in Templeton, Iowa, Senator Joni Ernst provided a moment that you’ll likely see over and over again on television ads next fall.
“Yes, I did vote to repeal the ACA,” Ernst said, when asked by a constituent with a pre-existing condition, to explain her health care voting record.
Opposing the ACA is not something that Ernst shies away from, but it is a contentious topic in Iowa.
Ernst followed up the comment by saying that she has, “supported other initiatives that do protect pre-existing conditions, so let’s make that clear.”
She then briefly mentioned a bill she worked on with Susan Collins, which would create “invisible high-risk pools” of people with pre-existing conditions.
But Ernst has also admitted that there’s not a plan in place, or seriously in the works, to replace it if the ACA is struck down. The deadline of a potential repeal inches closer each day as the Trump Administration-backed lawsuit works its way through the U.S. court system.
Despite having worked on several bills, none of them have gained traction.
“That’s what we were working on, but unfortunately, we didn’t get enough votes or support in the Senate to have that measure in place,” Ernst said Thursday. “But we do still have the ACA, so we’re still going through issues.”
“Probably Not Iowans” Running Ads
During the interaction in which she acknowledged her record on ACA-repeal votes, Ernst took a turn to express her discontent with advertisements being run in the state about that exact topic.
“I know there’s a lot of ads out here, and there’s a lot of sloppy work by whoever is running all of these ads, who are probably not Iowans, just to remind everybody,” Ernst said.
But the ads being run are from Iowans. The ad series she’s likely referring to is being put up by a group called Iowa Forward — their staff is in Iowa, and it is Iowans who are on camera to address Ernst personally in the ads while telling their own health care stories.
Sen. Ernst has been over this before. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, she said, “What I fear is that there is so much outside money being spent that my message is not going to be heard. How will people be able to sort through that, and understand that I am not supporting these other messages?”
But as this story notes, Ernst has been criticized by potential Democratic opponents on her past voting record on money in politics. And plenty of outside groups backed her bid in 2014, while Republican-linked groups are already swarming the Iowa airwaves with messages that attack Democratic health care proposals.
“Everyone thinks that politicians are immune to all of this, and that they don’t have the same issues as everyone back in Iowa. Both my siblings are type-1 diabetics and they have lived on insulin their entire lives,” Ernst said Thursday, following up her comments on the ads. “It’s not healthy for them, and they’ve some significant challenges. And folks I have a nephew with autism, so I get it; I do get it.”
by Josh Cook
Photo by Julie Fleming