Sen. Ernst Fields Health Care Questions at Cedar Rapids Town Hall

Mar 17, 2017

Sen. Joni Ernst takes questions at town hall-style meeting in Cedar Rapids Friday, March 17, 2017.
Credit Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst fielded several questions about health care today at a town hall-style meeting in Cedar Rapids.

Several questioners among the 1,000 or so people in the auditorium at Coe College pushed her to state her position on the House GOP health care plan.

"I can't say today whether I support it or don't support it," Ernst said. 

Ernst added the plan does not solve all health care issues.

“There is an element of tax credits in there. Again, I’m not saying I fully support what they’re doing, but we do need to shift the emphasis on making sure that those that are hardworking but maybe aren’t earning enough get the insurance coverage they need,” Ernst said.

Most of Ernst’s answers to health care questions were met with loud boos from the crowd.

A long line formed for Sen. Ernst's meeting at Coe College in Cedar Rapids Friday morning.
Credit Dean Borg/IPR

She questioned the Congressional Budget Office prediction that an additional 24 million Americans could be uninsured under the GOP plan.

“We need clarification on how many of those are folks that will choose not to engage in health care, or those that might lose health care," Ernst said.  

Ernst said she still wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and called it “unsustainable.” But she said people with pre-existing conditions should still be protected, and people under 26 should be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance.

Ernst would not say if she supports the House plan to use tax credits to help people buy health insurance.

She said she will look at how the GOP plan would impact Iowans when the House sends the bill to the Senate.