As a native New Yorker from Queens, I am still a registered Democrat in the true-blue state of New York, despite being a “resident” of Iowa for the last six years. Soon, I will be relocating to Georgia, just in time to find out if a Democrat will win a seat in the House for the six-district in the June Special Election that Ossoff couldn’t win outright last month.
My guy is from the swing-state of Ohio. We’ve been complacent in our absentee ballot voting, but ever since Trump became president, I’ve taken on a new interest in politics and US Government — especially since I took (and passed) a three-hour exam on US History, which included a lot of government, so that I could educate the youths of this country on civics.
The relatively uninteresting state of Iowa is only at the forefront during the caucuses, but in recent days has sprung to headlines and out the mouths of Republican politicians. Why? Obamacare, in one word.
The US House passed a bill to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, last week. Surprisingly, a large population of Americans don’t even realize that the ACA is Obamacare.
House Republican representatives referenced Iowa several times during the debate for the bill, using the corn state as a sign of Obamacare’s “failure.” Massive pull-outs from insurance companies in the state leaves Iowa with almost no options for about 70,000 Iowans for next year. But is that a fair or even accurate reference?
As a resident of Appanoose County, Iowa (which actually has its sole Democratic representative in the state for the US House), the fact is most of its residents are either on Medicaid, Medicare or some sort of subsidized insurance through free clinics, community action agencies or sliding-scale payments based on income.
Representative Rod Blum, the Republican from Iowa’s first-district, was part of a group of Republicans who blocked the first attempt to pass a bill last month. This time, he switched his vote because of a supposed fund to help those in a high-risk pool with pre-existing conditions. The lone Democrat in Iowa, Dave Loebsack, had a different opinion than his Republican colleague.
Democrats (and the few Republicans) who criticized the bill states that this bill will eliminate a guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, like asthma and diabetes, and could be forced to pay higher premiums or risk losing coverage. This was actually the most popular part of the ACA, but one that conservative Republicans want gone.
The criticism is that the non-partisan CBO report hasn’t been produced yet on this new bill, with only the last CBO to reference (which shows that about 24 million Americans will lose their health coverage); that the allocated funds for the high-risk pool isn’t enough money; and most importantly, that states can find loop-hole waiver options to opt-out or charge higher rates for those with pre-existing conditions.
Here’s what Trump and Republicans should worry about in ruby-red states like Iowa: there are a lot of rural residents who can’t afford healthcare, who work in jobs that are now not required to provide them coverage and whose residents benefit from services like Planned Parenthood. The ACA gave more towards Medicaid, which will now be cut down in funding with the new House bill, and most residents in rural states like Iowa don’t even qualified as “middle income.”
In counties like Appanoose, there is a high rate of teenage pregnancy, absentee fathers, child abuse/neglect, domestic violence and substance abuse. Most of Trump’s support base is from places like Appanoose County… but what people don’t realize is now they are faced with a tightened budget from state governments that do not have the budget to continue entitlement services for them, which includes coverage for pregnancies or even substance abuse services.
It’s these bases that also do not know how to factually tell what is real news or “fake news” because of a low population in higher education. When a Facebook picture with a link to any site that can afford $19.99 a month is taken as facts, as opposed to proven journalism, this is a wake-up call. Yet rural states like Iowa need to educate its residents on what these political wordings really mean for themselves, as these are the Americans who will be the most impacted by this new House bill.