Instead of Focusing on Phase 4 Relief, Senator Ernst Rushes to Confirm a Lifetime Appointment Whose Vote to Repeal the ACA Could Gut Protections for Iowans With Pre-Existing Conditions

This morning, Iowa’s health and economic crisis reached a new tragic milestone: 100,000 Iowans have now contracted the coronavirus. But instead of putting Iowans first by focusing on passing a Phase 4 relief package, Senator Joni Ernst is devoting yet another critical day in Washington to party politics – rushing to confirm a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court who could vote to repeal the ACA and undo coverage protections for pre-existing conditions.

The CDC has warned that Iowans with pre-existing conditions face an “increased risk for severe illness” from COVID-19. If the Ernst-supported anti-ACA lawsuit before the Supreme Court is successful, insurers could be able to discriminately charge more or deny coverage to Iowans with underlying medical conditions, including the 100,000 Iowans who’ve contracted COVID-19.

“On the very day that Iowa reached this tragic milestone, Senator Ernst is threatening to make the health crisis worse. Instead of focusing on passing a Phase 4 relief package, Ernst is rushing to confirm a lifetime appointment who could cast the deciding vote to end coverage protections for pre-existing conditions – leaving Iowans more vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson. “Senator Ernst’s disregard of this health and economic crisis is inexcusable, and a tell-tale example of how she has changed in Washington and why voters are rejecting her on the ballot.”

For months, Senator Ernst has “toed the party line on downplaying the COVID-19 threat” – voting against and opposing critical relief measures, including extended unemployment benefits, paid sick leave, and more funding for hospitals – only to later falsely claim that she supported them. Additionally, Ernst’s “skinny” proposal falls far short of the relief needed. Among many shortfalls, it excludes dedicated support for Iowa’s biofuels industry and urgent economic aid for state and local governments.

Unfortunately, the new milestone comes alongside other alarming health and economic numbers. Iowa’s rate of COVID-19 transmission is twice the national average and leading to “many preventable deaths.” More Iowans are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 than at any point in this crisis. And last week, Iowa saw an increase in new jobless claims.