Four of Iowa’s five congressman voted for a bill which provides more federal tax money so states can provide health care coverage for uninsured children. Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, says the country has a "moral obligation" to make sure every child has health care coverage.
"No child should go without health care. No child should go without regular check-ups, preventive care and treatment of illnesses," Loebsack says. "This legislation provides support for those who need it most — our children — and it is long overdue."
Republican Steve King was the only one of Iowa’s five congressmen to vote against the package. King’s biggest objection to the bill was because he says it would extend health care coverage to the children of immigrants who’re in the country illegally.
Congressman Loebsack says "HAWK-I" — that’s Iowa’s program to provide health care for uninsured kids — will fall over 69 million dollars short if the deal isn’t approved. "This compromise secures coverage for the 37,000 children covered by Iowa’s HAWK-I program," Loebsack says. "It also provides essential funding for the state of Iowa to reach the almost 27,000 children who are eligible for the program but remain uninsured."
Last week, the president publicly denounced the deal and vowed to veto it. "I sincerely hope that the president will change his mind, put the politics aside and sign this critical legislation into law," Loebsack says. The two other Iowa Democrats in congress — Bruce Braley of Waterloo and Leonard Boswell of Des Moines — joined Loebsack and Republican Congressman Tom Latham in voting for the compromise package that expands the state children’s health insurance program.
Congressman King, the Republican from Kiron who opposed that deal, says the best option now is to quickly pass a bill that would keep the program running for 18 more months under current rules. Iowa is one of 15 states which would run short on money for the children’s health care initiative if congress and the president fail to reach some kind of agreement.