Nation & World

Group calls on Blum to assist in ACA health insurance sign-up

Keep Iowa Healthy members rally outside congressman's Cedar Rapids office

Mike Culver, of Cedar Rapids, poses with a cardboard cutout of U.S. Rep. Rod Blum outside the Dubuque Republican’s Cedar Rapids office on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Culver and a handful of others from the group Keep Iowa Healthy were calling for the 1st District congressman to assist people signing up for the Affordable Care Act before the Dec. 15 deadline. (James Q. Lynch/The Gazette)
Mike Culver, of Cedar Rapids, poses with a cardboard cutout of U.S. Rep. Rod Blum outside the Dubuque Republican’s Cedar Rapids office on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Culver and a handful of others from the group Keep Iowa Healthy were calling for the 1st District congressman to assist people signing up for the Affordable Care Act before the Dec. 15 deadline. (James Q. Lynch/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A handful of political activists took turns posing for pictures with their “cardboard congressman” Monday as part of their effort to bring attention to the sign-up period for federal health care insurance.

Keep Iowa Healthy members gathered outside Iowa 1st District Rep. Rod Blum’s office in downtown Cedar Rapids and called out the Dubuque Republican for his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“We’re just trying to get the word out about the sign-up for the health care marketplace,” explained Amy Adams, of Keep Iowa Healthy, a grass roots coalition working to ensure all Iowans have access to quality, affordable health care.

She said the group was having some fun with getting out its message, using a life-size, union-printed cardboard cutout of a picture of Blum at one of four town hall meetings he conducted earlier this year that attracted about 4,000 people. Adams said they plan to take it around the district as a prop in their effort to educate people about health care insurance.

Blum, she said, “is doing everything he can to gut health care,” including voting to remove the individual mandate, which requires people to have coverage, from the House GOP tax reform proposal.

“Our congressman should be helping people sign up for health insurance,” Adams said.

However, Blum said Obamacare has “destroyed” the individual health care market in Iowa.

“All insurers have left but one and its rates have increased by more than 50 percent in one year,” he said. “Keeping the status quo is not an option and it must be replaced with a system that will lower costs, offer more choices and put the patient and doctor back in charge, not a government bureaucrat or regulator.”

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Open enrollment on the health care marketplace continues through Dec. 15 at HealthCare.gov. For assistance, call 1-800-318-2596 or go to localhelp.healthcare.gov.

Keep Iowa Healthy has partnered with organizations including Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Progress Iowa and Iowa Main Street Alliance in the area of advocating for access to health care.

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

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