Ernst Not Ready to Comment on Specifics of Health Care Bill

Jun 23, 2017

Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says she is studying the controversial health care bill unveiled in the Senate yesterday.    

But the freshman Republican is not ready to say whether she’ll vote for the measure that reduces health care benefits for Americans currently on Obamacare, and cuts federal dollars for low-income and disabled Americans.   

It was just released yesterday. -Sen. Joni Ernst

“It was just released yesterday,” Ernst said at a statehouse news conference, “so we have 142 pages to go through. I want to make sure that I've had time to go through it, talk to my staff, talk to folks around Iowa.”    

The bill is the Senate’s approach to scaling back President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

It would create a new system of federal tax credits to help people buy health insurance, but states could drop many of the benefits required by Obamacare.  

The bill eliminates millions of dollars in tax increases that were part of the Affordable Care Act.

Critics say most of the benefits of the tax breaks will go to affluent Americans.  

We will continue to hear from our constituents and we are already. -Sen. Joni Ernst

The bill preserves much of the structure of the House version known as the American Health Care Act, although the House bill cuts some benefits more.

Senate Democrats have lined up against the bill, along with four Republicans, which is more than enough to defeat the bill. 

Senate leaders want a vote before the July 4th recess. 

Ernst is not concerned that will rush the proceedings.

“We will have a lot of time committed to speaking just about the health care bill,” Ernst said.  “We will continue to hear from our constituents, and we are already.”  

Ernst was in Des Moines to unveil new federal legislation to give states more flexibility to administer welfare programs.