In early August, the Drive for Our Lives bus tour stopped in Cedar Rapids alongside Keep Iowa Healthy, Iowa Citizens Action Network (ICAN), Iowa Main Street Alliance, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, to rally local organizers and health care advocates to ensure that thousands of families across the state retain their access to quality, affordable health care.
As part of a coast-to-coast bus tour aimed at holding Republicans accountable for their votes to strip and sabotage health care for millions, Drive for Our Lives worked with local activists, grassroots organizers, and elected officials to send a message to those working to repeal and sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA): we won’t wait for your next attack on our health care.
The event in Cedar Rapids came on the heels of the failed effort to pass an ACA repeal bill, which would have ended protections for those with pre-existing conditions, raised premiums for thousands of families, and provided billions in tax breaks for billionaires and big business.
(The Drive for Our Lives tour arrives in Cedar Rapids.)
(Advocates and activists gather to call on Congress to stop efforts to strip or sabotage health care for millions of families.)
Instead, Iowans from across the state have advocated that Democrats and Republicans work together to improve upon the ACA. At the bus stop in Cedar Rapids, several families who have benefited from the law shared their stories, calling on congressional Republicans to stop their schemes to strip and sabotage their access to quality care.
“The Affordable Care Act allows individuals, including people who work for small businesses, avenues to get health insurance,” said Diane Peterson, a Cedar Rapids small business owner. “It allowed me, as an entrepreneur, to take the risk of starting a business because there would be avenues for my employees to be insured. With Congress and the President in turmoil over the future of the ACA, and with Trump threatening to cut off payments to insurance companies that offer subsidies, people cannot plan for the future.”
As community leaders and organizers at the event spoke about what the repeal efforts mean for their families, it became all too clear that this fight is not about politics and party, it is about people’s lives and financial stability.
“I’m a retired Paratransit bus driver and the way they’re talking about decimating Medicare and Medicaid frankly really upsets me,” said Waterloo resident Lon Kammeyer. “I drove for ten years, and to see my people being decimated by not being refunded for their medical expenses and not being able to see their doctors and go to their programs, irritates me. Americans aren’t taking care of Americans.”
To close the event, State Senator Rob Hogg called upon local organizers and activists to continue the fight, saying “What we need to do now is make sure that, in Iowa, we are continuing to speak up with our Congressional Representatives and our Senators and we need to tell them: stop taking healthcare away from Iowans and Americans and expand healthcare for everybody as was promised.”
(Sue Dinsdale speaks at the event in Cedar Rapids.)