High-quality, affordable health care is a human right to which all Iowans deserve access – not just those who can afford it.
Like so many Iowans, I’ve served as a dual caregiver for my parents and children. I understand the worry about how to pay for serious health issues affecting our loved ones and navigating insurance issues and red tape. Building a health care system that delivers quality care at reasonable prices for everyone must be one of Congress’ most urgent priorities.
That starts with protecting the Affordable Care Act and its critical benefits for Iowans, including its ban on lifetime caps, preventing insurance companies from denying care or charging Iowans with pre-existing conditions higher rates, and protections for maternal care, mental health and substance abuse treatment coverage.
But nearly 200,000 Iowans remain uninsured, and countless others who do have insurance are faced with rising premiums and high costs that make it too difficult to afford care.1
We must guarantee every Iowan access to a high-quality, affordable health care plan through the introduction of a public option that will lower rates by increasing competition in the insurance marketplace and expand consumer choice, while allowing Iowans on private insurance to keep their plans if they choose.
And we can’t stop there. We need to lower prescription drug costs and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for price gouging by allowing Medicare to negotiate with drugmakers for cheaper drugs – then extending those savings across the private marketplace as well. We must work to strengthen health care services in underserved communities, particularly our rural areas, by protecting Critical Access Hospitals and incentivizing providers to serve areas that currently lack medical professionals. And we need to protect critical programs like Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program from attempts to cut their funding.
We also need to recognize and solve the healthcare worker shortage. COVID has laid bare the troubles we have finding healthcare workers and making sure the worker pipeline is robust – especially as baby-boomers grow older and health care needs are at an all time high.
As an Iowa state senator, I have fought for working families who have struggled with the state’s Medicaid program. In Congress, I will work to
- Guarantee every single Iowan has access to high-quality, affordable health care, no matter where they live and work or how much they earn through the introduction of a public option that will increase competition and choice.
- Protect Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program from attempts to privatize or cut their funding or earned benefits.
- Allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prescription drug prices, so our seniors can actually afford the medications they need to stay healthy – while extending those savings to younger Iowans on private insurance as well.
- Advocate for Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing services.
- Encourage local, state, and national telehealth initiatives, which improve rural Iowans’ access to care while improving health outcomes and reducing costs.
- Address the lack of support for mental and behavioral health and shore up our services to solve the nation’s enormous substance abuse problems.
- Strengthen our critical access hospitals and incentivize medical professionals to serve rural areas to eliminate health care deserts and ensure all can receive care, no matter where they live.
- Explore and integrate social determinants of health in treatment for patients of color and diversity.
1 “Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population (CPS).” Kaiser Family Foundation