Fact Checker: What is Cindy Axne’s record on affordable healthcare?

A screenshot of a Protect Our Care ad, which first aired on April 13, 2022, praised Axne’s record on affordable healthcare legislation in Congress. (Submitted)

On April 13, Protect Our Care launched a new ad praising Democratic U.S. Representative Cindy Axne of Iowa’s 3rd congressional district for her work to lower health care costs for families.

The 30-second ad is part of a $5 million campaign on television and streaming services in eight key districts across the country by the left-wing health care advocacy organization. Protect Our Care, a 501(c)(4) project under the Sixteen Thirty Fund incubator, lobbies for the preservation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare”, and describes itself as a “dedicated war room” for the law was launched at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The announcement was also reproduced with identical demands for other representatives in Congress.

Let’s take a look at the claims in the ad, which introduces Axne with this statement before launching into three claims:

“Too many families worry about the cost of health care and prescription drugs. So Congresswoman Cindy Axne did something about it.

Claim: “…Pass a bipartisan bill banning surprise medical bills.

Protect Our Care cited a CNN Politics article published in December 2020 about Congress’ decision to stop surprise medical billing as part of a spending deal.

Surprise medical billing used to occur when patients with health insurance received care from out-of-network doctors and hospitals, or from out-of-network healthcare providers while receiving care at in-network facilities, often for emergencies.

The new rules aim to protect patients by limiting excessive disbursements and ensuring emergency services continue without prior authorization, whether or not patients are part of their insurance network.

“Previously, if consumers had health coverage and received care from an out-of-network provider, their health plan generally did not cover the full out-of-network costs,” said an explanation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “In many cases, the out-of-network provider could charge consumers the difference between the fee charged by the provider and the amount paid by the consumer’s health plan. This is called balance billing.

The idea was first introduced with HR 3630, the no-surprises law, which was passed to the full committee by voice vote in July 2019. After that, no action was taken on the idea until that it be incorporated into HR 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act. which was signed by President Donald Trump on December 27, 2020.

Although the Consolidated Appropriations Act was much broader than surprise medical billing protections, Axne voted yes on HR 133 alongside many other Democrats and Republicans.

Although Axne did not, on her own, pass this bill, her vote helped pass it. Rating: A

Claim: “Now Congresswoman Axne is working to cut costs even further by giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices and capping the cost of insulin.”

This request is divided into two parts, one for negotiation of Medicare drugs and one for capping the cost of insulin.

For the first, Protect Our Care cited a Vox article about House Democrats passing the Build Back Better Act, a $185 trillion social spending bill.

Among many other things on the Democratic Party’s wish list, the bill included provisions requiring the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicare and Medicaid, to negotiate maximum prices for certain brand-name drugs in the Medicare framework.

Axne voted yes on this bill, which largely according to the parties passed in the House in November 2021. It should be noted that the Build Back Better Act is stalled in the Senate, with little chance of passage .

For the latter, Protect Our Care cited stories about the House passing HR 6833, the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would cap insulin prices for patients at $35 per month or 25% of the negotiated price. of an insurance plan, whichever is lower.

Axne also voted yes on this bill, which passed the House with a slightly higher margin than the Build Back Better Act.

Insulin costs in Iowa have been a hot topic. On April 1, the Iowa Democratic Party criticized Republican U.S. Representatives Randy Feenstra and Ashley Hinson for their votes on the insulin cost cap measure.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act was received in the Senate on April 4, where it has sat without action ever since.

Rating: A


Based solely on its votes on the three bills in question, the ad gets a relatively straightforward A on all measurable claims raised.

Axne’s election in 2018, when she defeated incumbent U.S. Representative David Young, was successful in part because of her post on Young’s health record. Young’s vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in 2017 was a highlight of the race.


The Fact Checker team verifies statements made by an Iowa political candidate or office holder or national candidate/office holder about Iowa, or in political or public advertisements that appear on our marketplace.

Claims must be independently verifiable. We assign statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim that you think needs checking, email us at factchecker@thegazette.com.

The members of the Fact Checker team are Elijah Decious, Erin Jordan, Marissa Payne and Michaela Ramm. This fact checker was researched and written by Elijah Decious.

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