Some advocates for health care reform are riled by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley’s recent revelation about how much he pays for health insurance. Don Rowan, a retired union official, is president of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans which represents retired union workers.
"Senator Grassley pays $356 a month for insurance. I think he thought that would be a shock thing to Iowans," Rowan says. "I would be most happy if he’ll support an amendment that allows me to buy into the Senate’s plan at $356."
Both Grassley and his wife are covered through the $356 monthly payment. Data released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates the average family pays over a thousand dollars a month to get health insurance and many families spend as much as half their income on premiums, deductibles, co-payments and other health-related expenses.
Rowan is in Washington, D.C. this week, among those lobbying congress to pass health care reform. According to Rowan, it’s a make or break issue for American businesses.
"We don’t hear much in the news about it, but reason the automobile manufacturers are in (trouble) is because of the huge cost of health insurance both to the workers and to the retirees for whom they pay for health insurance, so what we look forward to in Iowa if this continues is either they’ll just absolutely discontinue paying insurance for their employees or they’ll go down the road to bankruptcy," Rowan says. "Those are the only two choices."
Rowan is the retired vice president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.