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NEW HARTFORD — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says his confidence level is relatively low that Congress will be able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act anytime soon. A scheduled vote on the Republican replacement for the A-C-A was cancelled last month in the U-S House after it was determined it wouldn’t have the votes to pass.
“It isn’t real high, my expectation, because of the failure three weeks ago,” Grassley says, “but I’ve heard rumors that there’s a real determined effort within the House of Representatives to get the necessary votes and get something passed.” In the past two weeks, two major health care companies announced they’d stop selling individual policies in Iowa in 2018 via the A-C-A exchange. Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield claim they’re losing tens of millions of dollars on the policies they’ve sold to Iowans in the past three years.
Grassley says, “The failure of Obamacare to deliver what they had said and Blue Cross and Aetna pulling out of the Iowa exchanges next year really brings home to Iowans when people say that Obamacare is in a death spiral.” While some Republican members of Congress are very enthusiastic about the repeal and replacement of the previous administration’s health care plan, Grassley says the A-C-A won’t be obliterated.
“When we’re all done with repeal and replacement, not everything in Obamacare is going to be replaced,” Grassley says. “Might be reformed a little bit, but there’s still going to be a lot of Obamacare around because some of it is quite non-controversial.” Grassley, a Republican, says he’s seen an alternative proposal that was authored by two Republican senators (Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine) that may be an option. He says he hasn’t signed on to the plan but believes it holds some promise of winning bipartisan support.