Coalition asks U.S. Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa to stop voting for health care repeal

Measure would create 'age tax,' groups argue

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A coalition of Democratic-leaning groups is running a television ad calling on 1st District Rep. Rod Blum to stop voting to repeal federal health care legislation.

The ad features a number of Cedar Rapids area activists and highlights Blum’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which Keep Iowa Healthy says would create an “age tax,” allowing insurance companies to charge people 50 and older five times more than they charge other people. The repeal of the ACA, or Obamacare, also would end affordable coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, the group says.

“Iowans can’t afford to pay the age tax that Congressman Blum would create with his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” said Sue Dinsdale, director of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans. “Thousands of Blum’s constituents would suffer if the bill he voted for became law. He should listen to the Iowans speaking out in opposition and do what’s best for the people he represents.”

Blum’s vote to repeal the ACA would put more than 1.2 million Iowans with pre-existing conditions at risk of losing coverage, including 174,000 children, according to the Center for American Progress. In the 1st District, which includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Dubuque and Marshalltown, 318,300 Iowans have pre-existing conditions, including 42,500 children. The bill the U.S. House approved, with Blum’s support, would raise out-of-pocket costs for older Iowans by as much as $12,671 by 2026 and allows health insurance companies to charge older Americans up to five times more, establishing what AARP describes as an “age tax.”

Keep Iowa Healthy is a coalition of local groups fighting the repeals of the ACA. They include the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Iowa State Education Association, Progress Iowa and Iowa Main Street Alliance.

The 30-second advertisement will air on local television stations in the Cedar Rapids media market, as well as in online ads. It can be viewed below.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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