5 Character-Defining Moments From AARP Candidate Forums

Watching eight hours of forums is a lot to process. Unless you’re going to sit down and watch all of them, like I did, it’s hard to get a feel for how the candidates truly feel about some of these issues. Even then, it can all get sort of jumbled into one big discussion. If you’re relying on news coverage, which we recommend, that will provide adequate analysis, but it can still fall short of providing the full picture of the candidates’ character. Throughout the week, there was a handful of moments where this shined through. So, while these are […]

I Watched 8 Hours Of 2020 AARP Forums. Here’s What I Learned.

Last week, coincidentally timed with AARP/Des Moines Register candidate forums, nearly all of the Democratic presidential candidates rolled out long-term health care plans, as well as plans to strengthen social security and combat rising health care costs. While rising costs have been a major topic of discussion in Iowa during the summer, most of the conversation up to this point has been acknowledging problems. After watching every single candidate’s AARP forum, one thing is incredibly clear: the candidates know what the health care problems are. From the cap on taxable income, to pay-for-delay, loopholes in the tax code, unregulated pricing […]

Iowans Urge Congress to Fund Rural Hospitals and Health Centers

As critical-access hospitals around the state continue to have their existence threatened, Iowa organizations are stepping up and fighting back to protect health care in rural areas. After proposed federal funding cuts to programs that support health care services for Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured patients, ten Iowa organizations have teamed up on a letter to Congress to pressure them into supporting the CHIME Act. The letter states that the programs being cut provide vital support to 11 Iowa hospitals, and that the cuts are unsustainable for these hospitals, especially in rural areas, and “could force some of them to reduce […]

The Policy Pushback On Medicare For All Begins In Earnest

Health care discussions have proven to be a major flashpoint for the 2020 Democratic candidates, leading to unsure endorsements on the debate stage, redacting debate answers and nuanced hesitancy on Medicare for All. A majority of the candidates are now offering health care plans other than an immediate Medicare for All system, most choosing instead to support the position of developing a public option as sort of a test run at a larger single-payer care system. On Monday, AARP and the Des Moines Register kicked off a week full of candidate forums to discuss health care plans, combatting rising pharmaceutical […]

What Steve Bullock Gets About The Rural Vote

Late to the race? Low name recognition? Steve Bullock doesn’t care if you’re writing him off; he’s running to fight for the written-off. Bullock’s campaign is in full swing as he prepares for the next round of Democratic primary debates, one that he should be a part of and which will be his first crack at the national stage. To establish a presence in Iowa, Bullock was on his sixth trip since announcing to the lead-off state, taking a tour of POET, an ethanol production facility in Gowrie, and stopping at a grain co-op in Rippey, Iowa on Tuesday. He […]

Iowans Warn Of Consequences Of Anti-ACA, Trump-Backed Lawsuit

Oral arguments for the Texas v. United States lawsuit, a suit filed in 2018 by 20 Republicans to challenge the Affordable Care Act, began today in New Orleans, Louisiana. The case is currently in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a cherry-picked, conservative Texan judge declared the entirety of the ACA invalid and unconstitutional. As the oral arguments kicked off, Progress Iowa and Protect Our Care Iowa joined State Senator Janet Peterson in Des Moines for a press conference to bring attention to the potentially devastating impact on Iowans’ health care if the lawsuit were to prevail. If […]

Axne Puts Forth Bipartisan Legislation to Relieve Rural Hospitals

On Tuesday, Cindy Axne (D-IA) put forth legislation to relieve rural hospitals of supervision restraints that limit the ability of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to provide quality care. Working with Adrian Smith (R-NE), Axne introduced the bipartisan bill to postpone enforcement of oversight rules requiring Medicare hospitals to implement supervision provisions for outpatient therapeutic services. “We need to address staffing shortages in rural areas, but in the meantime, we need to make sure that regulations aren’t overly burdensome for rural hospitals,” Axne said in a statement. Arbitrary Supervision The legislation delays implementation of “direct supervision” – or the requirement that […]

AARP’s ‘Stop Rx Greed’ Campaign Kicks Off

Prescription drug prices are rapidly outrunning inflation rates, coverage options and people’s income, speakers at today’s AARP event in Des Moines warned. AARP brought together their members, volunteers, advocates from other agencies and representatives for Joni Ernst and Cindy Axne to kick off their “Stop Rx Greed: Cut Drug Prices Now” campaign this morning. They highlighted the problems of having no caps to out-of-pocket expenses, the absence of low-cost generic drug options and how a lack of price negotiation power for Medicare beneficiaries are harming Iowans. “We all know the cost of drugs is too high,” AARP’s Iowa State Director […]

How Bono’s ONE Campaign Is Organizing In Iowa

Foreign aid is often used more in political campaigns as a punching bag than as an applause line, but more Iowans may be pressing their candidates and elected officials on the subject if the ONE campaign is successful here. ONE, a non-partisan advocacy organization co-founded by Bono, works to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa. They’re currently running a grassroots campaign in Iowa to get voters to contact their senators and urge them to support the Global Fund and to maintain America’s leadership in the global AIDS fight. They have volunteers in Des Moines, Iowa City and […]

New Finkenauer Bill Focuses On ‘Ignored’ Rural Health Care Providers

Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer was back in her home district this Monday to introduce a new piece of legislation centered on helping health care providers cover the costs of serving Medicare recipients. At St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Finkenauer laid out the pieces of the “Keeping Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019,” a bipartisan bill authored with the assistance of Republican lawmakers from Nebraska and Illinois, in addition to Democratic Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin. “I want to get it done, and I’m going to figure out ways to get it done, especially finding common ground across the aisle to […]