Ernst-Supported ACA Repeal Bill Also Slashed CDC Funding

Republicans were roundly criticized in 2017 for attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement health care system waiting in the wings, but amid the concerns over insurance coverage, a key piece of the bill was less well-known.

In addition to removing insurance protections for millions of Americans, the American Health Care Act of 2017 also called for the elimination of the $1 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, a program utilized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop disease outbreaks, fund immunizations and other preventative health care measures.

This piece of the bill faced criticism at the time, with the CDC warning it could “cripple officials’ ability to detect, prevent and respond to health threats including pandemic flu,” but is especially relevant now as the Trump Administration is accused of under preparing for the spread of Covid-19, also known as the coronavirus, in the United States.

Though the American Health Care Act failed to pass the Senate, Iowa Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley were among the 49 Republicans who voted in favor of the bill.

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American Bridge and Democratic candidates looking to unseat Ernst in November have pointed to this 2017 vote and Ernst’s history of accepting campaign donations from pharmaceutical PACs as examples of her poor track record on health care issues.

“If Joni Ernst had her way, this critical program that provides vaccines and combats the spread of outbreaks like Coronavirus would be eliminated,” said American Bridge spokesman Zach Hudson, in a statement.

And on Thursday, The Center for Public Integrity posted to Twitter an invitation to a “cigar reception” to support Ernst’s reelection campaign, held at the same time President Donald Trump was addressing the nation about the coronavirus.

“Joni Ernst was literally raising money from special interests in a smoke filled room while Washington is supposed to be preparing for a large scale Coronavirus outbreak,” Hudson said.

In 2018, news reports surfaced that the CDC was forced to downsize its efforts to fight infectious disease epidemics by 80% “because money is running out” and “experts are not anticipating that the administration will budget additional resources.”

Despite warnings from the World Health Organization, CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Americans need to prepare for the likelihood of a coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Trump and senior members of his administration have tried to downplay the threat and blame the media for overstating its seriousness.

Ernst did not address the coronavirus or the administration’s response in a 23-minute tele-town hall she held Thursday night on Facebook.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 2/28/20

2 Comments on "Ernst-Supported ACA Repeal Bill Also Slashed CDC Funding"

  • It would be ironic if the president with the biggest ego in the history of USA is thrown out of office by his poor and dangerous decisions regarding one of the smallest living organisms on earth, the corona virus. All of his GOP
    cronies should also lose their seats in Congress, especially Sen. McConnell.
    These politicians do not care about you or your family or the future of USA.
    Their main goals are to make a lot of money for themselves and to retain their political power by any devious and unlawful actions that they can think of. If we do not stop them in November, our country will continue to decline and lose the respect and cooperation of foreign nations.

  • It is ironic that one of the smallest living organisms on earth will probably bring down the president with he biggest ego ever. Trump’s decisions and actions about coronavirus will show how little he cares about health and welfare of most Americans.
    Trump and GOP cronies like Sen. Ernst are only interested in making as much money as they can while in office and retaining their political power by any devious and unlawful methods that they can think of. They have few morals to guide them and most of their policies are just plain stupid and will hurt the average American for years to come. If we do not vote out these selfish and brutal politicians in November, we will lose the heart and soul of America.

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