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Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Republican running for Congress has actually admitted that there are benefits to Obamacare.

David Young, who’s running in Iowa’s 3rd district against Democrat Staci Appel, said he supported Iowa’s Medicaid expansion in a debate last week.

“It seems to be working in Iowa,” he said.

He also indicated that he wanted states to “have some kind of flexibility” when it comes to Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act gives states the option to expand Medicaid coverage to Americans making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Though Iowa’s plan is a more “conservative version” of the federal plan, it still gave access to Medicaid to as many as 150,000 people who otherwise wouldn’t have qualified.

Though Young said he doesn’t want to repeal Obamacare, he still thinks that “it is a bad law.”

“I thought it was a bad process and very partisan. I wish this was a bill/law that both sides could have come together and Senate voted on and the House as well,” he said. “But it didn’t. We are stuck with it.”

He also criticized the ACA for causing insurance premiums to increase.

Young’s concession that the law works in Iowa is particularly significant, not just because he is a rare Republican acknowledging that it actually benefits Americans, but because Young used to be Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)’s chief of staff.

Though Grassley once supported the individual mandate in the health care law, arguing that it represented “individual responsibility and even Republicans believe in individual responsibility,” he changed his mind after the ACA passed, saying that requiring everyone to get health care was a constitutional violation.

Since then, he has tried to undermine Obamacare at every turn. Grassley proposed an amendment during the negotiations that would have required all members of Congress to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. The amendment was supposed to “embarrass” the Democrats, but it ended up making health care very complicated for members of Congress, causing a debate over whether they should still get to keep their employer subsidies.

As Grassley’s chief of staff, Young was most likely very involved with his policy decisions and arguments against the law.

Young has also recently come under fire for fundraising he did during Grassley’s 2010 re-election campaign while he was still the senator’s chief of staff. For the money he raised to be legal, Young would have had to do all of it on nights and weekends when he wasn’t working on Capitol Hill.

Grassley just officially endorsed Young, releasing an ad with Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA). In the ad, Latham promises voters that Young “will fight for lower taxes, less spending, and he’ll work to cut the debt.”

A recent Loras College poll has Appel ahead of Young by 6 points (40 percent to 34 percent).

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

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