Iowa’s Republican governor is in Omaha today, meeting with the Republican governors of Nebraska and Michigan to discuss regional efforts to grow state economies. Governor Terry Branstad is using the occasion to blast the health care reform plan President Obama, a Democrat, signed into law.
“Obama health care would add 150,000 people to the Medicaid rolls in Iowa. It’s not affordable. It’s not sustainable,” Branstad said during a news conference in Omaha. “We have a goal to become the healthiest state in the nation. We think you’ve got to have people take ownership of their own health. We need to do that,. We’d basically like to see it repeated or get a total waiver so we can deal with those issues ourselves.”
The leader of the Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement in response. “It’s a shame that Terry Branstad is putting politics before what is best for Iowa’s middle class families,” said Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky. “ The facts show that if the law is repealed, thousands of Iowans would either lose their health care coverage or put the health care coverage they already have at risk.”
Branstad, during his remarks in Omaha, also urged the president and congress to reduce the federal corporate tax rate, which is currently the highest in the world. “When I was governor before, we were able to get a number of Canadian companies to locate in Iowa and now I have American companies tell us, because their corporate income tax is lower than ours, their Canadian dollar is now on par with the American dollar…that actually we have American companies thinking about moving to Canada,” Branstad said, “which I think is unbelievable compared to what it was like before.”
Branstad also has a beef with pending federal regulations that could impact coal-fired power plants. “We in the Midwest, a lot of our energy is from coal and we have an economical advantage because we have reliable, low-cost energy,” Branstad said. “If that’s taken away from us by the (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), that’s going to be a real downer for economic growth.”
Branstad describes himself as a “comeback governor” who is focusing efforts on improving the state’s education system while at the same time reducing the tax burden on businesses.
(This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. with additional information.)