The five congressmen from Iowa voted along party lines today as the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that would repeal the federal health care reform law President Obama signed into law in the spring of 2010. All 242 Republicans and three Democrats in the U.S. House voted for the repeal. (None of those three Democrats were from Iowa.)
Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron, Iowa) made several cable TV appearances and spoke on the House floor a few times over the past couple of days. Check out King’s YouTube channel to watch those videos. King issued the following written statement after tonight’s vote:
“When ObamaCare passed, I made a pledge to work to uproot the law from the U.S. Code. To fulfill this promise, I drafted and introduced language to repeal ObamaCare ‘as if such Act had not been enacted.’ Today, the House of Representatives passed this language, and we are one step closer to fully repealing the law,” said King.
“Today’s historic vote was made possible because Americans have consistently demonstrated both resolve and fervor for repeal. In fact, Americans even elected 87 new Republicans to the House of Representatives to provide repeal supporters with the reinforcements we needed to answer their calls for repeal.”
“Today’s repeal vote represents not only a promise kept, but also the beginning of the end of ObamaCare itself. I will continue to work for ObamaCare’s repeal until this unconstitutional law is no longer on the books.”
Congressman Tom Latham (R-Ames, Iowa) issued the following news release:
LATHAM VOTES TO REPEAL FLAWED HEALTH LAW AND REPLACE WITH COMMON-SENSE SOLUTIONS
LATHAM TO INTRODUCE BILL THAT ACTUALLY ADDRESSES TOP HEALTH CARE CONCERNS AMONG IOWANS
Washington, Jan 19 -
Iowa Congressman Tom Latham voted on Wednesday to repeal President Obama’s job-destroying health care law off the books as he prepares replacement health care legislation that addresses the actual concerns of Iowans.
The House voted 245 – 189 to repeal the health care legislation, which was supported by President Obama and authored by congressional Democrats last year. In the months since its passage, the credibility of supporters’ claims that the bill would decrease health spending and lower the deficit has steadily eroded.
“The health care law is full of new government mandates and taxes that will raise premiums, destroy jobs and further weaken our country’s fiscal standing,” Congressman Latham said following the vote. “Striking this massive policy failure from the books is a necessary step so we can enact real reform that makes premiums more affordable and encourages job growth. Those are the reforms the American people have been demanding all along.”
Congressman Latham is crafting his own health care legislation that will expand coverage and lower costs for millions of Americans without adding to the national debt.
His legislation, which he will formally introduce in the coming days, includes the following provisions:
– It guarantees affordable health care to those with pre-existing conditions, without making coverage unaffordable for others.
– It greatly reduces the cost of individual health policies by allowing a full deduction for health insurance premiums – whether or not a taxpayer itemizes deductions.
– It allows health insurance plans to be purchased across state lines.
– It establishes small business health plans, so small employers can pool together to negotiate for lower premiums for workers.
– It contains real medical liability reform, capping damages and awards in liability cases.
– It enhances health savings accounts by allowing taxpayers to use HSA funds to pay the premiums for the health insurance plan that is paired with the account.
– It cracks down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Congressman Latham’s legislation also would retain the common-sense features recently enacted into law that received broad support among citizens and lawmakers. Retained provisions include requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions in children, allowing dependents to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, prohibiting annual and lifetime benefit limits and preventing insurers from unjustly canceling policies.
“The legislation that I intend to introduce is a common-sense approach to addressing the weaknesses in our health care system without destroying what works well,” Congressman Latham said. “It utilizes the provisions of the new health care law that received bipartisan backing while taking real steps to lower health care costs for middle-class Iowans. Congress will continue to debate health care in the months ahead, and I plan to do what I can to make sure the principles and features of my health care bill play prominently in that ongoing debate.”
Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines, Iowa) issued the following:
Congressman Boswell Stands Up to the Repeal of Health Care Reform Law
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Leonard Boswell voted against H.R. 2, the Patients’ Right to Repeal Act, which repeals current health care law that protects Iowa’s families, seniors, and workers from insurance company abuses.
Boswell released the following statement on his vote.
“Instead of focusing on what Iowans really care about, which is jobs and the economy, the new Republican majority is wasting taxpayers’ dollars on repealing laws that helps more Iowans afford health insurance and prevents insurance companies from taking advantage of consumers when they are at their most vulnerable. H.R. 2 is playing politics at its worst – on the public dime.”
“Under repeal, Iowa’s families, seniors, and workers would lose rights that protect them from insurance company abuses and give them more freedom and control over their health care choices. Repeal may also have severe repercussions on our economy, which has seen an average of 20,000 private sector jobs added each month in the health care industry since the passage of health care reform. Iowans cannot afford the cost of repeal.”
Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Mt Vernon, Iowa) issued the following statement:
Congressman Loebsack Opposes the Repeal of Health Care Reform
WASHINTGON, DC—Today, Congressman Loebsack voted in opposition to legislation that passed the House of Representatives to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Repealing health care reform would eliminate key new patients’ rights, increase out-of-pocket health costs, and unfortunately, in some cases, take away Iowans’ health coverage. Last week, the independent Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit by $230 billion.
“The historic health care bill signed into law last year, put patients ahead of insurance company profits by ending the worst industry practices, reigning in exploding health care costs, ensuring more Iowans have access to care, and giving taxpayers more for their money,” said Loebsack. “Unfortunately, if the bill is repealed, Iowans will lose these benefits and the peace of mind that comes with having stable, quality health care.”
In the Second District alone repealing health care reform now would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to up to 268,000 individuals, including up to 33,000 children, with pre-existing conditions. It would also eliminate new health care coverage options for almost 1,800 young adults. In addition, repeal would increase prescription drug costs for up to 11,400 seniors who hit the Medicare Part D “donut hole” and deny new preventive care benefits to approximately 95,000 seniors.
Loebsack cosponsored amendments to preserve provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, extend the solvency of Medicare by an additional twelve years, close the prescription drug “donut hole” for seniors, and maintain tax cuts to small businesses to provide health care to their employees. None of these amendments were allowed to come to the Floor for a vote.
“These provisions are critical to helping Americans live longer, more productive lives. If the bill is repealed, millions of Americans could be denied access to care, our future health care costs will rise, and the deficit we leave to our children and our grandchildren will increase by $230 billion,” added Loebsack.
Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo, Iowa) issued the following:
Braley Opposes Health Care Repeal
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) voted against the Republican bill to repeal the health care reform law.
“The new majority campaigned on balancing the budget and getting our deficit under control, but their very first legislative initiative would blow a $230 billion hole in our deficit,” said Congressman Braley. “There’s no way I could support this irresponsible legislation.”
If enacted into law, the Republicans’ repeal would also roll back the most popular provisions that protect consumers from insurance company abuses. Insurance companies would once again be able to deny coverage to children and adults with pre-existing conditions, prevent young adults from staying on their parents’ plans until age 26 and drop coverage for pregnant women and cancer survivors.
“The health care law, and the Republicans’ effort to repeal it, has a human face,” said Braley. “My nephew was finally able to take a new job, knowing his four-year-old son Tucker won’t be dropped from his new health plan because of a liver cancer diagnosis. That’s just one family. There are millions like them in Iowa and across the country.”
“My Republican colleagues also don’t seem to understand the very serious ramifications of their political games – or they haven’t read their own bill. The text of their bill clearly states that they intend to repeal the health care law and restore its provisions as if it had never been enacted. One consequence of that language is that if this bill becomes law, millions of seniors across the country would be forced to pay the government $250 that they received and already spent under the health care reform law. I know Iowa’s seniors can’t afford that – and I certainly won’t let my constituents pay the price for this political stunt.”