President Obama is urging Democrats in congress not to “walk away” from health care reform and Iowa Democrats who’re serving in the House and Senate appear to be on the same page.
“Fixing our economy requires that we fixing the health system that unacceptably hinders our competitiveness and productivity,” says Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health Committee. “Only through comprehensive reform can we protect the American people from skyrocketing costs and insurance company abuses.”
Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, says the “overwhelming majority” of people he’s hearing from want “fundamental” health care reform.
“Clearly though we can’t rush it. That’s something that I’ve been talking about ever since we began this process. We have to listen to folks, but at the same time there are a number of issues related to preexiting conditions and any numberof issues that are really, really critical for folks,” Loebsack says. “If you don’t have a job, you don’t have health care so these things aren’t unconnected.”
Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, predicts a new package may be introduced that outlines a variety of “consumer protections” like a ban on denying insurance coverage because pre-existing health conditions. Braley says that move is mainly necessary because of inaction in the Senate.
“Many of my colleagues are reluctant to continue to lead the way on health care reform given the problems that we have experienced in getting meaningful cooperation with the senate,” Braley says, “so one of the things that we’re all trying to get a handle on is what is possible.”
Congressman Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines, says it’s time to “move something.”
“Realizing that major pieces of legislation, whether it was Social Security or Medicare or health care reform — it’ll take some continuing work to tweak and fix and so on,” Boswell says. “I’d like to pass a bill.”
Republicans from Iowa who’re serving in congress are less enthusiastic. Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, has issued a “declaration of health care independence” — and a call to “start fresh” on the issue.
“If we’re going to have bipartisan reform it will not be on the framework of the Pelosi health care bill or the Obama health care bill or the Harry Reid health care bill,” King says. “That’s a toxic stew that has been put together and the American people don’t want that medicine, even by the spoonful.” (See photo of King signing the declaration)
Congressman Tom Latham, a Republican from Ames, says he wants everyone to “step back” and come up with a bipartisan approach.
“I think because this huge take-over of government health care appears to be dead that maybe there’ll be some folks that will sit down and negotiate and get some things done that are important to the American people,” Latham says.
Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, calls the health care reform plan Democrats in congress have crafted an “extreme” measure that will stifle the economy.