Although President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on Tuesday, his job of selling his health care reform is far from finished. The president travels to Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday to explain how the new policy helps the average American and small business.
Obama likely has a special place in his heart for Iowa, where he won the caucuses in 2008, which gave him the political momentum that inevitably led to his presidency. Iowa City is also where candidate Obama first laid out his vision for health care reform at the University of Iowa on May 29, 2007. The President begins his victory lap by returning to that same university where he first promised that he would sign a reform bill into law by the end of his first term in office.
David Yepsen, former political columnist of the Des Moines Register, and currently a professor at Southern Illinois University said Obama's visit to Iowa is smart politics. "Not only did the state give him a big boost with his caucus victory but it is also a part of his electoral college base."
Yepsen believes that all politicians need to pay attention to their base, "I think it's also important that he's going to Iowa City, a decidedly left of center community. Many on the left were Obama supporters but they've become upset over things like the war in Afghanistan and the lack of a public option. They still like Obama but are unhappy."
Three years ago, Obama cited premium increases, employers dropping coverage and more insured Americans as reasons to reform the heath care system, "We have reached a point in this country where the rising cost of health care has put too many families and businesses on a collision course with financial ruin and left too many without coverage at all."
Many small businesses cannot afford to provide health insurance for their employees, and in some cases eliminate their jobs altogether. Under the current bill, the self-employed, people who don't get health coverage through their employers and small businesses would be able to purchase insurance through state-based "exchanges." Iowa's small businesses account for 97.4% of the state's employers and 51.6% of its private-sector employment in 2006, according to the Small Business Administration.
Then Senator Obama detailed a plan that would guarantee universal coverage, subsidies for those who can't afford insurance, coverage of pre-existing conditions, reduce waste and inefficiency using updated technology, making sure insurance companies compete for patients--all of these elements are included in the current legislation.
The Iowa congressional delegation voted along party lines for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all three democrats favored the health care bill and two republicans opposed.
President Obama's approval ratings in Iowa stood at 49% last month according to a KCCI poll, 57 % opposed the health care bill passed by the Senate in December, which the House approved on Sunday.