Visit our website ⇒

The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) and Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are disappointed with the results of today’s vote in the US House of Representatives on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). We have serious concerns that the proposed legislation would cause harm to vulnerable patients, the health care delivery system, the state budget and the state economy.

Nearly 200,000 Iowans have coverage under current law, enabling them to get the health care they need, when and where they need it. AHCA would eliminate coverage for tens of thousands of Iowans and possibly jeopardize coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions. Even employer-based coverage is threatened by language in this bill.

The bill would also repeal enhanced federal funding for Iowa’s expanded Medicaid coverage and impose a cap on federal Medicaid funding, creating even more stress on Iowa’s budget. In addition, while the proposed legislation rolls back the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expansion in coverage, it retains Medicare cuts to Iowa hospitals that helped pay for that coverage.

The US Senate should not rush the legislative process on this flawed proposal or on any measure aimed at repealing and replacing ACA, but instead take all the necessary time and deliberation to make needed changes that ensure meaningful and affordable health care coverage for thousands of Iowans. A contingent of Iowa hospital representatives and IHA staff will be in Washington, DC next week and IHA looks forward to a continuing dialogue with the Iowa congressional delegation to support hospitals in fulfilling their mission of providing quality care to their communities.

Leave a Comment

Update: It appears the House will vote as early as Thursday on the heavily amended American Health Care Act, making it more important than ever for Iowans to contact their Representatives. Despite numerous changes, AHCA still undermines progress made under the Affordable Care Act and would leave thousands of Iowans without coverage. IHA is joined by virtually every provider and patient advocacy organization in the nation in opposition to this bill.

The US House of Representatives is still considering the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a legislative package to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make major changes to the Medicaid program. A vote could occur yet this week. Iowans should contact their US Representative and ask him NOT to support AHCA if it comes to the House floor for a vote.

Changes to AHCA continue to be discussed, including an amendment that would create a “limited waiver option” for states to opt out of essential health benefits and community rating requirements in an effort to lower the cost of insurance. Even with proposed “high-risk pools” that would theoretically (and temporarily) assist individuals with pre-existing conditions (who otherwise will no longer have coverage under AHCA), these changes would worsen, not improve, AHCA, legislation that hospitals and health care providers in Iowa and across the nation did not support from the beginning.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the AHCA is expected to increase the number of uninsured by 14 million in 2018 compared to current law and by 24 million by 2026. The largest savings would come from reductions in federal outlays for Medicaid ($880 billion) and the elimination of the ACA’s subsidies that help people afford health insurance ($673 billion).

Approximately 200,000 Iowans could lose their coverage while the state would lose billions of health care dollars.

AHCA is a step backwards that threatens the health of vulnerable Iowans. Contact your Iowa Congressman today!

Leave a Comment

The uninsured rate among veterans less than age 65 declined by nearly 40 percent during the first two years of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new study by the Urban Institute with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The uninsured rate fell from 9.6 percent in 2013 prior to ACA, to 5.9 percent in 2015, according to the report. Approximately 429,000 veterans gained coverage, and the gains were broad-based across demographic groups.

Among veterans ages 45 to 54 and those who served in the era between the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars, the uninsured rate dropped by almost 50 percent.

Before the ACA’s implementation, nearly one million veterans — almost one in 10– were uninsured, the study said. By 2015, the number of uninsured veterans fell to 552,000.

While many veterans have access to healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs, not all use or qualify for these services, the report said.

The study found that Medicaid expansion also helped to lower the uninsured rate for veterans. The uninsured rates in 2015 averaged 4.8 percent in expansion states, compared to 7.1 percent in states that didn’t expand the program. Iowa is one of 31 states that have expanded Medicaid.

For veterans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and eligible for Medicaid in expansion states, the uninsured rate dropped by 43 percent.

Veterans’ families also benefited from ACA, the study said. Using data from the 2013–2015 American Community Survey, researchers found uninsured rates for veterans’ spouses dropped from 9.2 percent in 2013 to 5.5 percent in 2015 and from 4.5 to 2.9 percent for their children.

Among black and Hispanic veterans, uninsured rates fell from 10.6 to 6.5 percent and from 11.0 to 7.1 percent, respectively, by 2015.

“The coverage provisions of the ACA have led to a 40 percent decline in uninsurance for non-elderly veterans,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior adviser at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Expansion of Medicaid in remaining states would increase those gains.”

Leave a Comment

Fifty-five percent of Americans now support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a major turnaround from five months ago when 42 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved, according to a new Gallup poll. This is the first time a majority of Americans have approved of the health care law, also known as Obamacare, since Gallup first asked about it in this format in November 2012.

Since the ACA’s passage, the law has been a significant political issue in each of the past four national elections. Republicans’ opposition to the ACA helped them win control of the House in 2010, control of the Senate in 2014 and the presidency last year.

However, Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the health care law foundered last month, as House leaders’ replacement bill ran into stiff opposition within the party.

Republicans, Democrats and independents are all more likely to approve of the ACA now than in November, a few days after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election left Republicans in control of the legislative and executive branches. Independents have led the way in this shift toward approval, increasing by 17 percentage points compared with 10-point changes for both Republicans and Democrats.

Although the ACA never garnered majority support in Gallup polling before this month, nearly half of Americans (48 percent) approved of it the first time the current version of the question was asked in November 2012. In response to a previous version of the question that asked whether Americans thought passing the health care law was a good thing or a bad thing, 49 percent said it was a good thing when the question was first asked in early 2010. However, support was a few percentage points lower each of the next two times it was asked.

Though a majority of Americans now approve of the ACA, only about one in four (26 percent) want to keep it largely as it is. Forty percent want to keep the law in place but make significant changes, while 30 percent want to repeal and replace it.

What Americans want Congress to do next regarding health care hinges on their views of the ACA:

  • Twenty-six percent want to keep the law in place largely as it is.
  • The 40 percent who want to keep the law but make significant changes are evenly split: 49 percent want Congress to continue to work on healthcare in the next few months, while 49 percent would like to see Congress turn its attention to other issues for the time being.
  • Among the 30 percent who want the ACA repealed and replaced, most (64 percent) say Congress should continue to work on health care. Another 32 percent say Congress should turn to other issues.

The Gallup poll was based on phone interviews with 1,023 US adults in all 50 states and was conducted April 1-2. Its margin of error is plus or minus 4 points.

Leave a Comment

The Iowa Hospital Association is pleased that the American Health Care Act was not pushed through the House on a wave of political pressure. There is far too much at stake – and too many unanswered questions – to force through a bill that would jeopardize health insurance coverage for more than 20 million Americans, including 200,000 Iowans.

The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but Iowa’s hospitals are committed to working with elected officials and agency administrators on addressing those problems and making it better, just as we have been for the last seven years.

However, the AHCA was not the answer. It endangered the health of thousands of Iowans – senior citizens, children and families, the disabled, veterans and others – who have received health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It threatened the Medicaid program that serves 630,000 Iowa residents. And it would have been an economic disaster for our state budget as well as hospitals and other health care providers that all Iowans depend on.

Iowa’s hospitals will continue to work with our congressional delegation as advocates dedicated to improving the health and lives of Iowans.

Leave a Comment