Groups launch seven-figure campaign targeting Joni Ernst's health care record

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is seen in January at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Progressive groups have launched a seven-
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is seen in January at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Progressive groups have launched a seven-figure campaign against the senator, who is up for reelection this year. (Associated Press)

DES MOINES — Progressive groups have launched a seven-figure campaign to hold Republican Sen. Joni Ernst accountable for her record, which they say includes votes to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Among the activities will be a “Stouts and Stories” event March 12 at Lion Bridge Brewing Co. in Cedar Rapids hosted by Iowa Voices to empower Iowans to share their personal health care experiences.

“With the caucus behind us, we’ve seen a surge in interest from people all over the state to get involved on health care issues,” said Sue Dinsdale, executive director of Iowa Citizen Action Network and leader of the Lower Drug Prices Now Iowa coalition. “We’re planning events with small business owners, seniors, families and so many impacted people who want to speak out.”

Iowa Voices has purchased billboards in Waverly, Ottumwa and Marshalltown. The group also launched a television ad that highlights the story of a military veteran and his wife, who battled cancer — a couple of courageous Iowans “who are disappointed in Sen. Ernst’s consistent attacks on their health care plans,” said Emily Holley, executive director of Iowa Voices.

Along with her support for “junk plans,” Holley said, “Ernst seems to be more interested in protecting special interests instead of Iowans.”

The Ernst reelection campaign responded, saying “dark money” groups such as Iowa Voices, which have spent more than $2 million opposing the senator, “are clearly too sloppy to look at Joni’s record of fighting for those with preexisting conditions.”

“Like so many folks she meets across Iowa, Joni’s family has struggled with preexisting conditions,” Ernst campaign spokeswoman Brook Ramlet said. “That’s why she is helping to lead the effort to pass the PROTECT Act, to fight for those folks who are battling preexisting conditions. Joni will continue working relentlessly because everyone — from her fellow veterans to families to seniors — deserves access to affordable, quality health care that is right for them.”


Iowa Voices, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Indivisible Iowa and Progress Iowa are planning activities in March and April to mark the 10-year year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. An anniversary bus tour sponsored by Protect Our Care will roll through Iowa on March 16, and another national bus tour in early April will focus on the need for lower prescription drug prices.

“There is no question that the ACA has been a positive force in the lives of millions of Americans over the last 10 years who depend on the ACA for health insurance and critical protections like those for preexisting conditions,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Joni Ernst has voted time after time to take away our health care, and the response we’re seeing now is that people have had enough of her disastrous record.”

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