In Charles City, Iowa yesterday, GOP Sen. Joni Ernst held the first town hall by a Republican senator since four of her colleagues held a press conference announcing their iteration of the least popular bill in three decades, legislation which would raise costs, lower options, remove protections for pre-existing conditions and gut Medicaid. Sen. Ernst’s constituents had one topic most on their mind: health care. And perhaps unsurprisingly, they were not thrilled with the GOP’s latest plan. Maybe the Republican Senate caucus should start listening to the American people, just 24% of whom support the bill?
Des Moines Register: Joni Ernst is ‘leaning yes’ on Graham-Cassidy health care bill: “Kill the bill. Don’t kill us.”
“Many in the crowd of about 75 weren’t so sure the proposal could deliver. In one impassioned exchange, Tami Haught, a community organizer from Nashua, told Ernst that she has been living with HIV since 1996, and worried the changes proposed in the bill could make her ongoing treatment unaffordable. Before treatment breakthroughs, Haught said, she felt like she was living to die. Now, ‘I am living to live, but I need access to my care, treatment and lifesaving medications,’ she said. ‘I will die without them.’ Haught, who buys her insurance on Iowa’s individual market and said she was arrested outside Ernst’s Washington, D.C., office earlier this year during a health care protest, called Graham-Cassidy ‘one of worst versions of the health care repeal that has come out.’ ‘We will not let this tea-party GOP kill us now without a fight,’ she told Ernst. ‘Kill the bill. Don’t kill us.’”
Globe Gazette: Ernst shifts health care blame on Democrats at Charles City town hall: “Ethically, do you see it as your responsibility to ensure the state cannot offer a waiver so that they abandon me?”
“Those in attendance, however, continued to express doubts with the Graham-Cassidy bill, including Laura Wright of Decorah, who fears she will lose valuable medication under the new plan. ‘If I don’t have that, I become a cripple at 55 or 60,’ she told Ernst through tears. ‘Ethically, do you see it as your responsibility to ensure the state cannot offer a waiver so that they abandon me?’ She added that rural areas are at risk of losing a significant part of Medicaid funds through the new bill.”
KCRG: Ernst hears harsh words on health care at town hall meeting: “You have a voice, Senator. You have a voice. Show your backbone”
“Ernst invited her constituents to bring their opinions about the latest health care bill and other topics. Several of those in attendance didn’t hold back. ‘Senator Grassley said last night he couldn’t name anything good in it but he was going to vote for it because politically he had promised. That’s a piss-poor way to run a government,’ said one attendee. ‘You have a voice, Senator. You have a voice. Show your backbone,’ said another.”