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Dems target House GOP on health care

  • In this Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 photo, U.S. Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, speaks with Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Washburn, left, during a stop at the Glenwood City Hall, in Glenwood, Iowa. Conservatives in Young's district are angry with the GOP's failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Independents don't like the partisan approach. And now Democrats are making an issue of Young's vote for a health care bill that President Donald Trump called "mean." (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Charlie Neibergall

  • In this Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 photo, U.S. Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, speaks with a local resident during a stop at the Glenwood City Hall, in Glenwood, Iowa. Conservatives in Young's district are angry with the GOP's failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Independents don't like the partisan approach. And now Democrats are making an issue of Young's vote for a health care bill that President Donald Trump called "mean." (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Charlie Neibergall

  • In this Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 photo, U.S. Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press during a stop at the Glenwood City Hall, in Glenwood, Iowa. Conservatives in Young's district are angry with the GOP's failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Independents don't like the partisan approach. And now Democrats are making an issue of Young's vote for a health care bill that President Donald Trump called "mean." (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Charlie Neibergall



Associated Press
Friday, August 11, 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Democrats used a bus emblazoned with the words “Drive for our Lives” to gin up opposition to vulnerable House Republicans who voted against Obamacare with the aim of upending the GOP’s majority in next year’s midterm elections.

The vote to repeal and replace the Obama health care law looms large for 21 GOP lawmakers, including Iowa Reps. David Young and Rod Blum. They represent competitive congressional districts where Democrat Hillary Clinton won or came close in last year’s presidential election.

Now all that some lawmakers have to show for the politically tough vote is the word “mean” — President Donald Trump’s description of legislation that would have made deep cuts in Medicaid, allowed states to opt out of coverage for essential benefits and knocked 23 million Americans off insurance.

The bus motored into Iowa on Friday, stopping in Cedar Rapids, the largest city in Blum’s eastern Iowa district.

The black-and-gray motor coach was parked in downtown Cedar Rapids as Diane Peterson urged Blum to listen to his district’s independent voters, who outnumber those affiliated with either major party.

“Of course there are things in the ACA that need fixing,” said Peterson, referring to the Obama health law’s name, the Affordable Care Act. The 61-year-old Democrat and coffee shop owner from Hiawatha added, “But Republicans now need to reach out.”

While Blum has allied himself with the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus, Young angered conservatives when he initially opposed a House GOP health care bill, then weeks later swung behind it. Independents were frustrated with the two-term congressman’s embrace of a partisan approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare.

The Des Moines Register’s Iowa poll last month showed Trump’s disapproval climbing to 52 percent. The increase was driven largely by independents, 59 percent of whom disapproved of Trump’s job performance, compared to 50 percent in February.

Now, Young is threading the needle, talking bipartisanship as he faces the reality that Democrats are gunning for him in a state where Trump’s approval is sinking and neither can boast a major legislative achievement.

Young defended his vote for the House GOP bill, arguing that Republicans added billions of dollars more to help people with preexisting conditions.

Democrat Janet Norris from Red Oak, who met privately with Young in her western Iowa hometown last week, called his reasoning “doublespeak.”