Senator Ernst’s Efforts to Gut Coverage Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions Could Have Left At-Risk Iowans More Vulnerable to COVID-19 By Rendering Treatment Unaffordable

Attempting to distort the grave consequences of Senator Joni Ernst’s efforts to gut coverage protections for pre-existing conditions – which would have left Iowans at greater risk to COVID-19 even more vulnerable – on Thursday Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann claimed the health risks from the pandemic have “nothing to do with pre-existing conditions.”

Senator Ernst has repeatedly downplayed warnings from health experts on the severe threat of this crisis, even going so far as to push for Iowa to “reopen” by the end of April despite the grave consequences. Does she now agree with Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann that Iowans with pre-existing conditions aren’t at greater threat to coronavirus?

Here are the facts:

  • The Centers for Disease Control warn that Iowans with underlying medical conditions face a “higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” 
  • Independent fact checks have found that Senator Ernst led efforts to gut health care protections by allowing insurers to discriminate against Iowans with pre-existing conditions, rendering coverage “more expensive and less accessible.”
  • If Senator Ernst’s efforts had been successful, Iowans with pre-existing conditions who contracted COVID-19 would have had less access to affordable care, while simultaneously facing a higher chance of developing more severe symptoms.