US Sen. Chuck Grassley went on record in front of around 80 people in Waukon to say he does not support repealing a landmark healthcare reform law that brought coverage to more than 230,000 Iowa residents.
During Monday night’s town hall, an audience member pressed Grassley about his previous opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010.
The woman noted her two adult children got their healthcare coverage thanks to the ACA.
“You voted 12 times to try to repeal this?” she asked.
“Yeah, before 2016,” Grassley replied.
The US Senate passed the ACA in December of 2009, when Democrats held the majority, on a 60-39 vote. No Republicans—including Grassley—supported the bill. In addition to helping more low-income families gain access to quality health insurance through Medicaid expansion, the law also guarantees those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage, and allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plans.
In 2016, as Republicans worked to take back power on promises to repeal the law, Congress passed a bill that would have repealed several provisions of the ACA, but it was vetoed by Obama.
Once President Donald Trump took office, however, efforts to gut and overturn the full law picked up steam again. The administration, for example, refused to defend the ACA when 18 Republican state attorneys general sued to have it overturned. The Supreme Court threw out their lawsuit in 2021.
While the ACA has now survived 12 years—and public opinion over the law has shifted positively—at least one Senate Republican, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, said last month he wanted to bring back efforts to repeal the ACA.
“So I’m wondering: If you and the Republicans get back in power, is that again going to come up to be repealed?” the Waukon audience member asked Grassley. “And, if you do, what is the Republican plan to provide affordable health care to my children?”
“It’s not repealing the Affordable Care Act, if that’s your question,” Grassley said.
“So are you saying that you would not?” she asked.
“Yes, I’m saying I would not—we’re not going to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Grassley said. He then clarified that he couldn’t speak for other Senate Republicans.
By Amie Rivers
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