DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, released a new television ad for her re-election campaign highlighting how personal her work is to protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Ernst’s sister, Julie, has type 1 diabetes. The ad dives into Julie’s challenges living with diabetes and the incumbent senator’s fight to force insurance companies to cover Iowans with pre-existing conditions.

Like many Republican U.S. Senators, Ernst campaigned on and won elections on the promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Ernst voted for a “skinny repeal” of the ACA in 2017 that reduced an insurer’s ability to block consumers with pre-existing conditions, a bill that failed to pass on a 49 to 51 vote.

That vote has been the focus of Democratic attack ads against the senator in a close race that is considered a toss-up. 

After a federal judge in Texas ruled that the ACA was unconstitutional, Ernst stated that it was essential to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions as Republicans repeal and replace Obamacare.

“Too many Iowa families and businesses have been hurt by the painful effects of Obamacare – from rising costs to losing access to doctors, to hampering businesses’ ability to hire new employees,” Ernst said in a released statement.

“Health care reform should be focused on choice, not mandates. Yet, it is important that we protect people with pre-existing conditions, as we repeal and replace Obamacare. To guarantee the availability of coverage in the individual or group market, including people with pre-existing conditions,” she added.

Several months before that court decision, Ernst co-sponsored with U.S. Senator Thom Tills, R-N.C., the Ensuring Coverage for Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, legislation that would guarantee Americans have equal health care coverage, regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions.

Earlier this month, Ernst joined Senate Democrats to vote for a bill that blocked the Trump Administration from supporting the Obamacare lawsuit. The bill failed on a cloture vote.

Watch:

Transcript:

Julie: “I have diabetes. I’ve had it my entire life. It’s a pre-existing condition. 

“Kids at school would tease me about it, but my sister always had my back. She still does today.”

Ernst: “No one messes with my sister – not bullies or insurance companies. 

“I’m Joni Ernst. I approve this message because no American should ever be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition – not in my family or yours.”

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