Health care was a winning issue for Democrats in 2018 when they won control of the House of Representatives by flipping red seats to blue. Two years later, protecting the Affordable Care Act and hammering against Republicans who are working to dismantle it is central to Democrats’ efforts to put Joe Biden in the White House and oust Sen. Mitch McConnell as majority leader.
In Iowa, tying Sen. Joni Ernst’s votes against the ACA to her reelection campaign is a top priority for state and national Democrats and progressives trying to keep her from securing a second term.
Iowa Forward, a progressive advocacy organization, is out with its second ad in a series launched in June “to hold Sen. Joni Ernst accountable for her votes against the health and safety of Iowans.”
“Crisis” focuses on Ernst’s votes to repeal the ACA, which would have opened the door for health insurance companies to once again be able to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.
The digital ad begins with the coronavirus pandemic and points out how 1-in-3 Iowans could lose their health insurance if the ACA is repealed.
“Now more than ever, Iowans are depending on their health care to be there when this coronavirus crisis hits home,” said Mazie Stillwell, an Iowa Forward spokesperson. “Sen. Ernst’s votes to take away Iowans’ health care are reckless and completely unacceptable.”
Glenn Hurst, a primary care physician from Minden, said Ernst “should be working to expand access to health care, not take it away.”
Without the ACA, Hurst said, coronavirus patients could be discriminated against by health insurance companies.
“This pandemic doesn’t pick and choose based on whether or not you can afford medical treatment, and Sen. Ernst voting to allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, including this coronavirus, is downright shameful,” Hurst said.
Ahead of the Department of Justice and Republican-led states submitting legal briefs to the Supreme Court on Thursday, the Iowa Democratic Party took the opportunity to point out Ernst’s refusal to say whether she supports the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to dismantle the ACA.
“Sen. Ernst is past the point of no return,” said IDP spokesperson Jeremy Busch. “When she can’t even pull herself to oppose her party’s efforts to undermine health care and services for millions of Iowans, voters know she’s long fallen into Washington’s corrupt ways.”
Protect Our Care also is drawing attention to the administration’s upcoming legal filing, launching this week “12 days of action” to dive into various aspects of the ACA, such as its expansion of Medicaid and protections for LGBTQ individuals. They also will push digital content “in 13 key states” and show how millions of Americans would be negatively impacted if the health care law is taken away.
As a counter to the Trump Administration’s lawsuit, House Democrats are expected to vote this week on a bill to expand the ACA’s insurance subsidies and increase Medicaid eligibility.
By Elizabeth Meyer
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