Republicans are reminding Iowa voters that Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) was one of the principal backers of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
Braley, the Democratic candidate for Iowa’s open Senate seat, was a member of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D., Calif.) "go-to gang" of Democrats responsible for ensuring that the health care law received a majority of votes, the Hill reported in October 2009. Days later, Braley delivered one of the last floor speeches in support of the law before it passed:
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What did the Institute of Medicine tell us about the state of patient safety? They told us that the most significant way to reduce the costs of medical malpractice is to emphasize patient safety by reducing the number of preventable medical errors. They also told us that's the only way we're going to bring about meaningful health care reform…That's why they aren't telling you about what the Institutes of Medicine reported the cost of medical errors is in this country. They reported in their studies that every year medical errors add $17 billion to $28 billion of cost, most of it in additional medical care that we end up paying for as consumers of health care. When you multiply that over the 10 years of this bill, that means it's costing us $170 billion to $280 billion if we continue to ignore this problem. That's why Democrats and the Institutes of Medicine are standing up for patients, and that's why you should reject this motion to recommit.
Republican lawmakers can be heard shouting "trial lawyer" at one point during Braley’s speech, a label that has plagued the four-term congressman during the tightening Senate race.
The GOP says Braley failed to warn Iowans about the negative repercussions of the law, including dropped insurance plans and premium increases.
"When Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi were desperate to pass ObamaCare, they turned to trial lawyer and Washington politician, Congressman Bruce Braley, to get the votes and deliver the closing argument, because he was uniquely qualified to argue in favor of a bill that raided $716 billion from Medicare, killed jobs and forced Iowans off their healthcare plans," said Republican Party of Iowa spokesman Jahan Wilcox.
The two main Iowa insurers selling plans on the Obamacare exchange said in June that they were proposing rate increases of 14.3 percent and an average of 8.7 percent, respectively, for thousands of Iowans. Wellmark, the state’s largest insurer, is proposing an increase of between 11.9 percent and 14.5 percent for customers who purchased plans after Obamacare took effect.