The Iowa Farm Bureau’s Health Benefit Plans that go on sale November 1 are getting a thumbs down from Republican Congressman David Young and Cindy Axne, his Democratic opponent for Iowa’s third district seat.
The Farm Bureau plans were designed as a cheaper option for Iowans who buy their own insurance, but the Farm Bureau will be able to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
“I do not like that fact that they do not protect those with pre-existing conditions, so I have a real problem with that bill,” Young says.
Young’s fellow Republicans in the state legislature and Republican Governor Kim Reynolds approved the sale of these so-called “skinny” plans that may not be available to Iowans with pre-existing conditions. Young says he doesn’t like it, but he’ll leave it up to state officials to decide how to proceed.
“But at the federal level I’m doing what I can at the federal level to make sure those with pre-existing conditions are protected,” Young says.
Axne says the Farm Bureau’s “skinny” insurance option is “unfortunate.”
“A lot of plans are out there that provide very little coverage and don’t do much to help people,” Axne says, “and this is another one that does that.”
Young has voted to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act which has provided federal subsidies so low income Americans may buy insurance. Axne says she’d vote to “shore up” the Affordable Care Act and keep provisions like letting young people stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26.
“I would like to see a public option, so that everybody has an opportunity for an effective, affordable plan,” Axne says.
Axne and Young appeared together on Iowa Public Television tonight for an hour, answering questions on issues like raising the federal minimum wage. Young said states should set the wage floor for their areas. Axne supports raising the federal minimum wage.
Young opposes raising the gas tax to finance infrastructure like roads and bridges.
“I think it’s a tax on working Iowans. I would like to see some parity and equity, though, in how we pay for our roads and bridges. We have a lot out there who are driving on our roads and bridges who aren’t paying into it, necessarily, with electric vehicles, propane, different kind of fuels, flex-fuel vehicles,” Young said. “I think if you’re going to play on those roads, you’ve got to pay.”
Young said federal officials are investigating how a “per mile driven” tax might work. Axne said the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling and “multiple options” should be considered, including a per mile tax.
“I’m not going to say yes or no right now to that,” Axne said. “We haven’t seen a gas tax (increase) in a heck of a long time. We need to look at what might be an opportunity for us to find those funds.”
The two took to their partisan corners when it comes to the GOP tax cut package Young voted for in December. Young said constituents tell him it’s putting more money in their pockets. Axne said it’s primarily helping upper income Americans and corporations.