Today was the first day of work for the new congress and Republican Congressman Steve King quickly filed a bill calling for the immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
King said in a written statement that it’s time for “swift action” on “ObamaCare” since Republicans now control both the House and Senate and a Republican will be sworn as president on January 20.
“I urge Iowa’s members of congress not to vote to repeal before they at least have an acceptable alternative,” said Mike Tramontina, a licensed “navigator” who’s been helping Iowans buy insurance through www.healthcare.gov.
Tramontina was among a handful of Iowans who spoke early this afternoon at news conference in Des Moines that was organized by a group that supports the health care law. Tramontina suggested King and other “ObamaCare” opponents are misjudging public sentiment.
“Many of the people who raised objections to the Affordable Care Act did so because they wanted more,” Tramontina said. “At least half of the people who don’t like the Affordable Care Act want more of the tax credits, want lower deductibles by law. They want provisions changed, such as the affordability measures.”
Mary Nelle Trefz of the Iowa Child and Family Policy Center said a recent analysis by a Washington, D.C. think tank suggested as many as 230,000 Iowans could lose health coverage if the law is repealed.
“That’s more than the population of the city of Des Moines (who) would have coverage and lose it,” she said.
Debbie Neustadt of Des Moines has a pre-existing medical condition and worries she’ll have to shell out the $5000 for a follow-up test herself if the law is repealed.
“It’s people’s lives. It shouldn’t be a political football where people go back and forth and say they’re going to do this, they’re going to do that,” Neustadt said during the news conference. “And we still have health care issues in the United States.”
Sixty-three-year-old Claudia Hawkins, a certified credit counselor from West Des Moines, said it is “just irresponsible” to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a plan to replace it.
“Is this where we’ve come as a country, where we’re not concerned about our neighbors?” she asked.
Mike Draper, a small businessman who’s part of the Iowa Main Street Alliance, said it’s “no coincidence” many Republicans are talking about a repeal that wouldn’t take effect until 2019 — because members of congress stand for reelection in 2018.
“They know that if they scuttle the entire thing, that the shock to the system would be so great that people wouldn’t want that either,” Draper said.
Draper, owner of the Raygun store in Des Moines, said to repeal the law now, “just when it’s beginning to work,” would be a “blow to small businesses.”
Senator Chuck Grassley issued a statement late this afternoon, saying “Obamacare over-promised and under-delivered” and is “collapsing.” Grassley indicated he’ll support efforts to limit medical malpractice lawsuits and let people purchase insurance across state lines as ways to reduce costs.