Opinion | Iowan politicians need to focus on healthcare

In the middle of a pandemic, the future of our healthcare should be the first and foremost issue every politician is talking about.

Hannah Pinski, Opinions Columnist

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the country, every American has a right to affordable healthcare for themselves and their family. Although medical institutions like University Hospitals and Clinics are taking steps to improve patient care like eliminating language barriers, none of it will matter if people can’t afford access to these facilities.

When studies find that people with Parkinson’s disease are 30 percent more likely to die, we know that the people most vulnerable to this virus are going to require more support. More support means more money which is why healthcare is important to lift the burden of cost to families.

Right now, we need politicians to prioritize the American people’s health instead of robbing affordable access to service everyone needs.

President Trump has repeatedly stated he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, but has no concrete plan on what it’s replacement will be.

The Affordable Care Act’s main purpose is to make health insurance more affordable and accessible to people. Some of the important provisions include people who are sick or have a medical condition cannot be denied insurance, and businesses larger than 50 full-time employees must provide health insurance.

Although some see healthcare as a service that the government doesn’t have to provide for free, everyone should have the equal opportunity to access an affordable and quality plan.

A person’s income level should not be the determinant of the quality of treatment they receive, and their pre-existing conditions should not be punished when other insurance companies charge them more.

If repealed around 227,000 Iowans would lose their health insurance coverage.

Healthcare is not a ‘business’ like Target or Hyvee. Everyone deserves the same right, regardless of income level, to have access to affordable and high-quality medical services. If left in the hands of the private sector, healthcare will become an opportunity for profit rather than a fundamental service.

The most recent debates for state politics are concerning the future of healthcare holders.

During the District 2 debate, it was brought up how in 2018 Democrat Harte took the side of Republican legislators to pass a bill for farmers where only members of the Iowa Farm Bureau Association would be eligible for this plan.

Iowa farmers need politicians who will create plans  that are accessible to everyone. Regardless of whether or they are a member of the association, everyone deserves the chance to have high quality health insurance. Being a member of an association doesn’t dictate that someone is more deserving of a basic human need.

Republican Miller-Meeks isn’t a viable option either. Her controversy between being supportive of repealing ACA in the past and now claiming she wants to ‘reform it’  We can’t have someone work on a plan who hasn’t had a consistent stance.

Next, there’s Joni Ernst and Theresa Greenfield. Ernst has supported a ‘skinny’ repeal of the ACA where insurance companies could charge more for people who have pre-existing conditions. We shouldn’t be punishing people for something they can’t control.

While Greenfield is supportive of a public plan, she also has to remember the importance to increase reimbursement rates to rural Iowa hospitals, otherwise up to 52 are threatened with significant money loss. Protecting and investing in hospitals so they have a high quality service is a part of health care.

COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. Politicians, especially our Iowa candidates, need to prioritize health insurance and make sure everyone has the opportunity for an affordable and high-quality plan.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.