As Trump and Republicans in Congress continue their relentless war on health care and work to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, advocates from across Iowa spoke out on a call to highlight how House Democrats are fighting back. Congresswoman Cindy Axne detailed Democrats’ efforts to deliver affordable, improved health care to all Americans on a conference call earlier today.
Since taking the majority in January, House Democrats have worked to advance their health care agenda and plans to lower costs and improve care—while Republicans have dug in deeper on their efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. In March alone, Trump fully backed the disastrous Texas lawsuit, released a budget that slashes funding for Medicare and Medicaid, and ramped up his administration’s efforts to throw people off Medicaid by allowing states to implement work requirements.
Today, Congresswoman Axne promised to continue defending health care, and heard from everyday Iowans about their concerns.
“I am proud to support legislation that brings down the cost of prescription drugs, protects people with pre-existing conditions and ensures all Iowans have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Congresswoman Cindy Axne. “Improving our health care systems is one of my top priorities in Congress.”
“Every Republican-led attempt to repeal the ACA has included provisions that will raise health care premiums, deny access to health care for millions of Americans, and cause the collapse of the individual health insurance market,” said Sue Dinsdale, executive director of Iowa Citizen Action Network. “The GOP is betraying their constituents’ by trust by voting time and again to decimate our health care. We are proud to have members of the Iowa delegation who put us first and call on our Senators Grassley and Ernst honor its commitment to us, and protect our health care.”
“Iowans have lived the issue of health care, struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs and the threat of coverage being taken away because of pre-existing conditions,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa and director of Protect Our Care Iowa. “Congresswoman Axne and the House have passed a long list of legislation that will improve the lives of Iowans. Why won’t Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley put politics aside and support it? Every Iowan should continue to speak out until every Iowan can see a doctor or get the life saving medication they need without fear of being denied or going into bankruptcy.”
In May, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to overturn Trump administration regulations that encourage junk plans, began the effort to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and strengthened health care by taking steps to reverse Trump’s sabotage agenda. The House passed H.R. 986, the “Protecting Americans With Pre-existing Conditions Act,” and H.R. 987, the “Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.” These bills have several key components:
- Ending Trump’s expansion of junk plans that discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. The House bill overturns the Trump administration’s rule to allow expanded new junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage completely to people with pre-existing conditions or not cover essential treatments like prescription drugs (HR 1010). The House will also ban the federal government from using taxpayer money to push consumers into these junk plans (HR1386).
- A new report from the American Cancer Society showed that typical patients with cancer who bought junk plans would be stuck with devastating health care bills because the junk plans they bought purposefully did not adequately cover the treatments they needed to survive. Many people did not know of these gaps and limits on coverage when they signed up.
- Ending Trump sabotage of open enrollment. The House bill restores $100 million in funds for education, outreach and assistance to make it easier for people to find and buy health insurance that is right for them (HR987 and HR1386). The House bill also provides $200 million to states to set up state health insurance marketplaces (HR1385) so they can provide better health care for their residents.
- Since taking office, the Trump administration has slashed the marketing budget for health care plans sold through the marketplace by 90 percent and funding for health navigator groups that help people sign up for comprehensive care by 77 percent. These cuts are estimated to have reduced enrollment by nearly 500,000 people.
- Lowering prescription drug costs. The House bill will stop big drug companies from purposely delaying cheaper generic drugs from getting to market (HR965 and HR1499). The bill will also increase competition in the generic drug market (HR938), helping lower costs for patients. A recent PPP poll showed 82 percent of people support making it harder for big drug companies to block new, cheaper generic drugs.