U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is arguing Republicans must abandon the idea of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in one huge piece of legislation.
“Unfortunately, because it did fail, we will have to address it in smaller chunks,” Ernst said earlier today. “That means a lot of these families that have been hurt by ObamaCare, they’re going to have to hang on just a little bit longer as we work through the system.”
Ernst said individual bills could limit damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits or address the rising cost of prescription drugs, but she said the senate must first determine how long ObamaCare subsidies helping low-income people buy private insurance will continue.
“We need to address the health care insurance issue right away,” Ernst said. “That’s an immediate press right here in Iowa.”
The only company currently offering 2018 health insurance policies on the ObamaCare exchange is proposing significant premium increases due to uncertainty about the system’s future. Earlier this month, President Trump suggested Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell should resign if he can get key GOP agenda items approved in the senate. Ernst is suggesting McConnell needs to appoint another GOP senator to shepherd the health care overhaul and tax reform through the senate.
“If he’s not going to pull the effort together, then he needs to have a point person,” Ernst said. “Whether it’s tax reform or the ObamaCare repeal and replace, assign somebody that can inspire our caucus and find a way forward.”
Ernst made her comments to reporters in Sioux City after she spoke to the Sioux City Rotary Club. The Rotarians ended their midday meeting early so members could go outside to see the solar eclipse.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)