A new television ad airing today from Iowa Voices connects U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s health care voting record to the coronavirus pandemic by highlighting past support for bills to end insurance protections for Americans with preexisting conditions.
Individuals who contract COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, are significantly more likely to experience life-threatening complications if they have preexisting conditions like hypertension, asthma, heart disease and obesity.
Though the American Health Care Act failed to pass the Senate in 2017, Ernst and fellow Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley were among the 49 Republicans who voted in favor of the bill, which would have eliminated the Affordable Care Act with no plan to replace it.
Iowa Voices’ new ad, “Health Crisis,” features Dr. Daniel McGuire of Des Moines and his concerns about Americans with preexisting conditions. The seven-figure ad buy begins today in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids media markets.
“We’re in a public health crisis, and those with preexisting conditions are most vulnerable,” the narrator says in the 30-second ad. “But Joni Ernst voted to take away their health care.”
McGuire, a physician of 30 years, says “many of my patients would no longer have health insurance” if the ACA was repealed and coverage for preexisting conditions went away.
“Tell Sen. Joni Ernst to stop voting to deny my patients health care,” McGuire says.
“Iowans need access to health care right now more than ever,” said Emily Holley, executive director of Iowa Voices, Monday in a statement. “Decisions made by politicians in Washington affect our lives. We applaud Iowans like Dr. McGuire for speaking out on this critical, life-or-death matter.”
Ernst is in the midst of her first reelection campaign. Five Democrats are vying for the nomination to take her on in November.
She is considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2020, along with Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama, Martha McSally of Arizona and Cory Gardner of Colorado, among others.
On March 20, the Cook Political Report downgraded her race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican,” citing the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showing Ernst’s approval rating drop 10 points since February 2019. And in January, Morning Consult’s Senator Approval Rankings placed Ernst as the third-most unpopular senator in America, behind Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
By Elizabeth Meyer