As the legal fight surrounding the Affordable Care Act continues, a new report shows potentially devastating impacts of a possible repeal in a number of states across the U.S., including Iowa.
According to the report, the uninsured rate in Iowa would increase by approximately 125%, which would leave hundreds of thousands without insurance.
187,000 Iowans would immediately face losing their health insurance.
If the ACA is eventually struck down in court due to the Republican lawsuit, it could also lead to a number of problems, including funding for hospitals, a massive rise in the number of Americans without insurance, the removal of protections for pre-existing conditions and a weakening of employer insurance.
“Reductions in health coverage and federal spending, combined with a growing demand for uncompensated health care, would have important financial consequences for state and local governments and health care providers,” says a recent report from the Urban Institute.
Particularly, rural hospitals will be left at great risk.
“Because hospitals are the last-resort providers for many uninsured people, their finances are particularly affected by changes in the number of uninsured,” the report states.
If the ACA had been repealed at the beginning of 2019, there would have been an estimated $134.7 billion cut from federal health care spending.
“Rolling back the ACA would reverse financial gains for hospitals in expansion states and could jeopardize the financial stability of rural hospitals in those states,” read the report.
Iowa is among a large group of states that would see its uninsured population skyrocket if the ACA was overturned.
Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada also are all in a similar boat.
“This is just a continuation of the GOP turning health care into this game of political football,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “It’s amazing to me, and maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, that they’re willing to put peoples’ lives on the lines for this.”
In the midst of a presidential election cycle, removing a major health care law could lead to a turbulent environment for some of the elected officials supporting this legal case.
“I think it’s disgusting. If you think about people, like Robin Stone, who we’ve heard from all over this state, this is their life,” Sinovic said. “This is playing games with people’s lives. It’s just disgusting. The elected officials, from (Joni) Ernst to (Chuck) Grassley, and down the line, doing this, it’s just unbelievable.”
Poll after poll already shows health care as the top issue for most voters. If the ACA was struck down, it will only become more important and could leave some senators up for re-election with some explaining to do.
“Health care is going to be the No. 1 issue already. But if this were to happen, it would be explosive. Whether you’re Joni Ernst or Susan Collins, or even the president, it could be bad,” Sinovic explained. “They should be pretty damn worried about their job if all these people end up without health insurance and connect the dots about who made that happen.”
Largely, Republican senators have stayed silent on this issue. Some, like Sen. Grassley, have voted for the repeal but told their constituents that it won’t be repealed, so they shouldn’t worry. Sen. Ernst ran her 2014 campaign on repealing the ACA, but now says she won’t leave people stranded without another law in place.
It doesn’t seem to be out of fear of the president, however, as Ernst and Grassley have spoken out against Trump when it comes to renewable fuels and the ethanol saga.
“We’ve seen them, at least in some way, stand up to the president on trade, and other things, so they’re willing to do it,” Sinovic said. “But, they’re spineless when it comes to health care.”
By Josh Cook