Affordable Care Act Anniversary!

In 2010, millions of people came together to win the landmark Affordable Care Act, which increased coverage to historic levels, stopped insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions and created new rules for coverage and affordability.

The Affordable Care Act currently provides coverage to over 35 million Americans, including 111,423 Iowans. Over the last decade, it has reduced the number of uninsured people in the United States to historically low rates, stopped insurance companies from discriminating against over 100 million people with pre-existing conditions and created new, fairer rules, for private insurance providers.

Thanks to the ACA, insurance companies can no longer charge women more for insurance than men, deny people coverage for basic services like mental health, addiction, or pediatric care or place arbitrary caps on care or coverage.

Good health and access to quality coverage are linchpins to economic security. These factors create the opportunity for families to thrive in our country and to eradicate the systemic economic, racial and gender inequities that help the richest people in the nation prosper while squashing opportunity and fairness for the rest of us.

President Biden and lawmakers in Congress have made tremendous strides in increasing access to healthcare–both by expanding coverage and by lowering the cost of services like prescription drugs in Medicare. These are fantastic steps that stand in contrast to Republican efforts, to repeal or water down coverage, cut Medicare and Medicaid, and loosen up regulations so that insurance corporations can offer more high-cost “junk” plans. 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)  has survived dozens of political, legislative and legal attacks to now reach record enrollment and majority support from the public. Bigger tax credits over the last two years have reduced premiums for middle-class families saving them an average of $800 annually.  The ACA has both expanded coverage and improved the quality of coverage for hundreds of millions of Americans. 

However affordable premiums for insurance coverage are just the first step. Using the coverage when you are sick often proves more challenging. There is always more to do.  It can only work if people can afford the premiums and the out-of-pocket costs. And both are rising.  Deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket “cost-sharing” expenses may render coverage moot when patients can’t afford their share of the cost or when they have to shell out thousands before their insurance plan starts to pay for treatment. 

While people with ACA premiums are getting more affordable coverage because of President Biden’s commitment to increased premium assistance, the overall cost of healthcare continues to rise. Health insurance companies made record profits during the pandemic because many fewer people used their healthcare plans, resulting in fewer claims to pay. But big profits continue as the pandemic has receded. In 2023, the seven big for-profit health insurers alone made more than $40 billion in profits on revenues in just the first six months of the year. Profits were up 8.1% compared to the year before. Given the soaring premiums in 2024, we can expect to see similar profits this year even as medical debt continues to soar and families struggle to afford the basics.

We can’t go back to the days when insurers could charge people with pre-existing conditions more, or even worse, deny them coverage.  Today we are calling on our representatives to listen to their constituents. To stop sabotaging our health care.  To stop playing party politics with our lives. It is way past time for those we elected to honor their commitment to us, to protect our health care. 

We are not only counting on it; our lives depend on it. 

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How our state government treats its most vulnerable... whether children, the sick or the elderly in fact, all of us – is the measure of its humanity. Over the past few legislative sessions we have seen time and again that the wealthy and privileged are rewarded and the rest of us are disregarded.

What the Governor and Republican Legislators are promising are income tax cuts,  overhauling state agencies that assist students with disabilities, eliminating more than 100 of the state’s boards and commissions and ending the gender balance requirement, continuing to ban school books, restricting abortion, loosening gun regulations, sticking their noses into civics and history curriculum, in a nutshell, even more pandering to their special interest groups and donors.

The Governor recently unveiled her new “slogan” for Iowa – Freedom to Flourish.  Unfortunately that freedom is only afforded to a few. So that’s why we need to stand in solidarity and tell our elected officials at every level that we have had enough.  That each and every one of us counts.

Here are a few of the priorities that the legislature should be working on:

  • We need to fight “so-called” tort reform and keep special interests from influencing our civil justice system.
  • With gun violence running rampant and recent events in Iowa, of course we need to send our thoughts and prayers, but as a solution it’s not working.  We’re sick and tired of inaction or bad action from our legislature.  We need Policy Change and Action on top of our thoughts and prayers.
  • We need a program that will help to feed, educate and care for our children. And an educational system that uplifts our educators and schools and does not treat them as enemies.
  • We need oversight and action when it comes to elder care, particularly with our abysmal record in Iowa’s nursing homes.
  • We need our legislators and governor to accept that women have autonomy over their own bodies and health care. 
  • We need fair wages and safe working conditions for all workers.
  • We need the right to vote without undue restrictions
  • We need to treat our LGBTQI+ friends, family and neighbors with dignity and respect.
  • We need a focus on bullying, food insecurity, health care, a fair and equitable tax system and environmental justice so we leave this world a safer place.
  • What we really need is for our elected officials to prioritize the wellbeing of our most vulnerable.

What we need is to make Iowa a safe and welcoming place for ALL.

So what can we do?  Each of us needs to stay informed, contact our elected officials write letters to the editor, attend events, show up, VOTE and, most importantly, make our voices heard.

You can find your legislator at:

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To see the discussion, go to our: SAVE OUR SENIORS VIDEO

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Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN) is a grassroots public interest organization committed to creating social change in Iowa and across the nation. ICAN has united Iowa’s progressives for 45 years, and is leading efforts to change the public climate for progressive change. ICAN works in coalition with  organizational affiliates from a wide range of constituencies, including religious, community, labor, senior, family farm and environmental organizations as well as with our thousands of individual members.
Strengthen social security don't cut it, Iowa citizen action network,
Civil justice and consumer protection, Iowa citizen action network,
Iowa Health Care Reform, Iowa Citizen Network,