Watch Video of Event Here
Des Moines, Iowa — Sen. Joe Bolkcom, Rep.Timi Brown-Powers, and small business owner Susan Blocker joined Progress Iowa and Protect Our Care on a virtual roundtable to discuss the comments made by Ernst during the Republican National Convention, including her omittance of healthcare. Speakers will also highlight how Trump’s mismanaged response to the COVID-19 crisis has unleashed chaos across the country, and put Iowans’ health at risk.
Participants also condemned President Trump’s lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which would strip millions of Americans, including Iowans, of their health coverage in the middle of a public health emergency, made worse by this administration’s failure to confront the crisis head-on. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on November 10, 2020, one week after the 2020 election.
Speakers discussed the need for Sen. Ernst to to pass legislation to address coronavirus and stand up for the Affordable Care Act, especially as it benefits thousands of Iowans:
“I was disappointed, but not surprised that Senator Ernst did not mention the deadly, job killing pandemic that has killed 1,080 Iowans, or that she did not mention the need to make sure Iowans continue to have access to affordable healthcare during this historic pandemic. But, as I thought about it, I thought why would she want to talk about President Trump’s utter and ongoing failure to manage the pandemic.” – Senator Joe Bolkcom
“I have patients across Iowa that are very concerned about their pre-existing conditions. Let’s keep in mind 60,000 Iowans have just been added to that because they now have COVID. And those folks are not going to be covered if Joni continues down this path (against the ACA).” – Representative Timi Brown-Powers
“We have a Senator who has ample opportunity to stand up for Iowans and advocate for our healthcare, but time and time again she’s leaving us out in the cold. Thousands of Iowans depend on programs she has continually tried to repeal, including the ACA, but supporting Trump seems to be her main priority.” – Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic
“We were very happy with the ACA and things were going much better until Donald Trump started attacking the ACA through the courts… We just grow more and more worried everyday. What’s going to happen? Will we even get insurance, and if we do, can we even afford it and subsequently what will happen to our business? ” – Small Business Owner Susan Blocker
Ernst Supports Repealing The ACA And Its Protections For 1.2 Million Iowans with Pre-Existing Conditions
2014: Ernst Campaigned For The Senate With An Ad Where She “Unloads” On Obamacare By Shooting It With A Handgun. “Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst of Iowa has released a new TV ad vowing to ‘unload’ on Obamacare, in which she takes target practice at a shooting range with a handgun. [Washington Post, 5/4/14]
2015: Ernst Voted To Repeal Most Of The ACA. Ernst voted for legislation that gutted the Affordable Care Act by eliminating the insurance exchanges and subsidies, and repealing the Medicaid expansion accepted by 30 states, including Nevada. [HR 3762, Roll Call Vote #114, 12/3/15]
2017: Ernst Voted For The Senate “Repeal And Delay” Plan. Ernst voted for Obamacare Repeal and Replacement Act was a Republican effort to repeal the ACA without a replacement. Known as “repeal and delay,” the bill repealed major sections of the ACA, including the Medicaid expansion and premium tax credits, in 2020. [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #169, 7/26/17]
2017: Ernst Voted For “Skinny Repeal” Of The ACA. Ernst voted for “Skinny Repeal” of the ACA, which repealed the individual mandate and delayed the employer mandate while leaving most of the rest of the law in place. [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #179, 7/28/17]
2017: Ernst Refused To Give Up On Repealing The Affordable Care Act After The Failure Of The Senate Bills. “Ernst said Friday she’s also not ready to give up on repealing the Affordable Care Act. ‘We don’t have the option to sit back and do nothing; Iowans are demanding relief from Obamacare,’ she wrote in a statement released by her staff.” [Des Moines Register, 7/28/17]
Ernst Claims To Support Coverage For People With Pre-Existing Conditions But Sponsors Legislation That Would Gut Those Protections
In Response To The Court Ruling Striking Down All Of The ACA, Ernst Said It Was “Important That We Protect People With Preexisting Conditions, As We Repeal And Replace Obamacare.” “Republicans are facing a moment of reckoning on health care after a federal judge struck down the Affordable Care Act, imperiling the landmark law the GOP has struggled against for eight years. […] One of the Republican senators facing a potentially competitive reelection campaign is Joni Ernst of Iowa. Ernst issued a statement Saturday saying that it was ‘important that we protect people with preexisting conditions, as we repeal and replace Obamacare.’” [Washington Post, 12/15/18]
2018: Ernst Co-Sponsored Legislation That She Claimed Would “Guarantee Americans Have Equal Health Care Coverage, Regardless Of Their Health Status Or Pre-Existing Condition.” “Yesterday, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Ensuring Coverage for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, legislation that would guarantee Americans have equal health care coverage, regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions. Oral arguments in Texas v. United States will begin on September 5th, and if the judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs, protections for patients with pre-existing conditions could be eliminated. This legislation amends the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to guarantees the availability of coverage in the individual or group market, for all Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, regardless of the outcome in Texas v. United States. The legislation prohibits discrimination against beneficiaries based on health status, including the prohibition against increased premiums for beneficiaries due to pre-existing conditions.” [Sen. Thom Tillis Press Release, 8/24/18]
2019: Ernst Co-Sponsored The Protect Act That She Claimed Would Protect Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions. “Senate Republicans believe in patient-centered health care that delivers the choices they want, the affordability and protections they need, and the quality they deserve. That is why Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and his colleagues today introduced the Protect Act, legislation that protects Americans with pre-existing conditions, ensuring that Americans have the peace of mind knowing that they and their loved ones will never be denied health care coverage or be charged more because of a pre-existing condition. Joining Senator Tillis as co-sponsors of the Protect Act are Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Rob Portman (R-OH), David Perdue (R-GA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Kennedy (R-LA), Todd Young (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Richard Burr (R-NC).’” [Sen. Thom Tillis Press Release, 4/10/19]
Ernst Refuses To Condemn The Texas Lawsuit That Would Rip Coverage Away From More Than 185,000 Iowans
2019: Ernst On The Texas Lawsuit: “I Am Not Going To Make A Determination On That.” Joni Ernst: In today’s day and age, we do see a lawsuit moving forward that could potentially dismantle the ACA. If that happens, we need to make sure that we are reiterating that preexisting conditions will be covered in any future insurance actions. […] Anchor: Do you support that lawsuit that is going forward that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act all together? Ernst: I am not going to make a determination on that. I am not an attorney. But I would say that, yes, I would like to see different forms of health care coverage that exist out there that will bring costs down. I do want to see that addressed” [WHBF, 4/28/19]
2018: Ernst Refused To Discuss The Texas Lawsuit Threatening The ACA. “Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who faces a potentially tough reelection bid in 2020, declined to discuss the ruling with a reporter in a Senate hallway on Monday, instead referring to her written statement.” [The Hill, 12/17/18]
Ernst Voted For The Tax Bill Which Forms The Basis For The Trump-Republican Lawsuit. Ernst was a key vote for the Republican tax bill, which repealed a key provision of the Affordable Care Act that required most people to have health coverage and which is the basis of the Trump-Republican lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
—Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of more than 75,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law.