On this weekend’s Iowa Press, Senator Joni Ernst was asked to explain her backup plan to restore health care if the GOP’s lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act is successful – an effort she silently supports that could kick 227,000 Iowans off of coverage.
Despite the stakes, the best response Senator Ernst could muster was an excruciating 75-second, 199-word nonanswer with zero details or solutions. This comes as Ernst is desperately trying to rewrite her record of voting to gut coverage protections for pre-existing conditions and standing in the way of reforms to lower prescription drug costs.
Ernst should come clean about what her disastrous health care agenda would mean for Iowans, while she’s still refusing to say anything more about the ongoing anti-ACA lawsuit other than, “I’m not saying whether I support it or not.”
The Des Moines Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel: “The Trump administration has been pushing the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act in full. But in the 12 years that law has been in effect, Republicans in Congress have not come up with an acceptable plan to replace it. So what should happen? What will happen? What will you guys do if the Supreme Court makes good on the Trump administration’s push and repeals that law in full?”
Senator Joni Ernst: “Well, I think it’s very important that we continue supporting those that have pre-existing conditions or very complicated health histories, I think that is extremely important. In my own family my sister and brother are both juvenile diabetics and they have lived on insulin shots every day of their life, so I know how important that is.
“So I would back a plan that would support using federal and state dollars set aside to help those with the most difficult of medical needs. So I think that is really important that we do that. But then also addressing the overall cost of health care, not just insurance because the ACA was insurance, but insurance costs will continue to go up as long as health care costs continue to go up.
“And so I think we need to look at health care costs which includes prescription drugs and making sure that we are driving those costs down for those consumers and those patients. We also need to look at really transparency within the health care system and understanding what we are paying for the services and how that is negotiated between the health insurance companies and our hospitals and clinics.”