The veteran senator who stunned Iowa’s political community by announcing he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2014 is advising other Democrats to embrace rather than distances themselves from the Affordable Care Act. Senator Tom Harkin serves as chairman of the committee that helped draft the law.
“Democrats should not be afraid of this,” Harkin says. “Go out and take it head on and if somebody’s got a suggestion for how improve it, fine, that’s all right. We’ll listen to that. We’ll look at that, but if all they’re going to come out and say is ‘Repeal it,’ I think Republicans will lose if that’s how they’re going to campaign.”
A recent non-profit group’s poll found only 38 percent Americans had a positive view of the Affordable Care Act and Republican candidates have begun to tout the 2014 election as a referendum on “ObamaCare”. The survey also found about three out of every five Americans believe the law should be improved, but not repealed.
“You know, I think the American people realize that we made some really great progress in health care coverage,” Harkin says.
Harkin points to popular parts of the law which forbid insurance companies from dropping people who get cancer or from denying coverage because of a pre-existing health condition.
“Have there been some problems? Sure,” Harkin says. “I don’t deny that, but basically we take care of those problems, we fix them and we move ahead.”
Harkin, who is retiring at the end of term after serving in the U.S. House and Senate since 1975, made his comments during a telephone conference call with Iowa reporters.
AUDIO of Erin Murphy of Dubuque Telegraph Herald asking Harkin about the issue, 4:10