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Senator Joni Ernst Hopes for ACA Changes

John Pemble/IPR
Joni Ernst, August 2017

Iowa's U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says she’s hopeful lawmakers will pass legislation she says will help people facing steep premium increases for individual health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act.

About 72-thousand people in Iowa face increases of nearly 60% after the state withdrew its proposal for a stopgap plan that would have provided relief. In this interview with River to River host Ben Kieffer, Ernst says the current situation puts a lot of Iowans in a bind.

"Those that are on the individual insurance market really have no choice at all. They either pay the outrageous fees and premiums associated with those plans, or the simply don’t get covered," Ernst says. 

Ernst says she supports the Alexander-Murray bill, which would use federal money to provide insurance premium relief for the next couple of years. States would be allowed to loosen requirements on what policies would have to cover. A bipartisan group of senators is proposing the plan, and some Senate Republicans are proposing another bill to lower premiums and loosen requirements.

In this interview, Ernst also discusses tax overhaul and budget plans, U.S. military deaths in Niger, and her outlook on work in the U.S, Senate in the coming months.

Later in the hour, Kieffer talks with political analysts, David Andersen and Jonathan Hassid, of Iowa State University.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Michael Leland is IPR's News Director