SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Shortly after the House passed the Republican health care bill to repeal Obamacare, Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City released this statement:
Mercy Medical Center is disappointed in today's House decision to pass the amended AHCA. Access to health care and adequate health insurance coverage is a fundamental human right.
As it is now, the American Health Care Act would decrease the number of individuals and families with health care coverage, erode crucial insurance protections and further destabilize the individual insurance market which will be devastating. It would also remove hundreds of billions of dollars from the Medicaid program, forcing states to eliminate coverage for the most vulnerable individuals and families.
As a Catholic organization we stand with and serve those who are poor, especially the most vulnerable. We are hopeful that there are bipartisan, public-private solutions that help our nation move forward in caring for everyone and we will do all we can to help them find those solutions.
Jim FitzPatrick, President & CEO
Other medical centers here in Sioux City also fear the fate of their patients.
"For us in Iowa, that's 150,000 patients who, really, because of this legislation may find themselves without coverage. One of the big concerns we have is that states have the right to waive preexisting conditions. Our concern is that it's the sickest Iowans and the poorest Iowans who are going to be affected by this," says Mari Kaptain-Dahlen, CEO of the Siouxland Community Health Center.
"We will do everything within our power to meet this need, but if they pull the funding away, it makes it much much more difficult for us to be able to do that," says Ben Nesselhuf, VP Resource Development at Jackson Recovery Centers.
Local democrats and non-partisans are also expressing concerns over Obamacare being dismantled.
"We're very disappointed that Republicans would vote along party lines as opposed to voting what's best for people, especially those with preexisting conditions," says Amy Kondo, with the Siouxland Non-Partisan Group.
"I've gone through cancer before Obamacare, before I was covered under the ACA. I know what a struggle it is for other families as well and people shouldn't have to choose between their health and death and that's basically what it's coming down to with laws like this," says Tisha Dumkrieger, member of the Iowa Democratic Party.
Despite the growing fear from some, the measure now heads to the Senate. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says they won't be serving as a rubber stamp to pass the bill, but instead will consider it carefully.
"There's going to be a lot of meetings among Senators to see what we can get a consensus on and there's not going to be any date set for passing a bill. The determination of when the bill comes up will be when we get 51 votes," says Senator Chuck Grassley.
Local medical leaders are hopeful the Senate can modify the bill to meet the needs of the patients they serve.
"I'm hopeful that the Senate will make some much needed changes to this legislation," says Nesselhuf.
"We want equity in this bill and we want to make sure that people who have preexisting conditions have access to the care they need and deserve," says Kaptain-Dahlen.