Ernst Hosts Fourth Tele-Town Hall on COVID-19, Hears from Iowa Seniors

The Iowa senator provided information and resources for seniors to utilize and to protect against scammers and fraud amid the pandemic

RED OAK, Iowa – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) held another telephone town hall with thousands of Iowa seniors, answering questions on a range of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and providing information and resources for seniors to utilize and to protect against scammers and fraud. Senator Ernst was joined by Joe Sample of the Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Dwane McFerrin of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Click here or on the image above for a video message from Senator Ernst after her telephone town hall with Iowa seniors.

“While our town halls during this pandemic are a little different than we are used to – holding them by phone – these calls continue to be a great opportunity for me to hear directly from Iowans. Today I had the chance to connect with our seniors and help answer questions and provide them with important information during this pandemic,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “We’re all in this together and we can each do our part to help one another stay safe and healthy. To Iowans of all ages across our state, stay safe and stay strong.”

Senator Ernst has been fighting for Iowa’s seniors throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. She called for bipartisan action to crackdown on scammers who are targeting Iowa seniors. Senator Ernst also pushed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to waive a tax filing requirement for seniors and others who normally do not file taxes in order for them to receive their direct cash assistance.

She also helped secure a number of important relief measures for seniors in the three bipartisan packages Congress passed and that are now law, including:

  • Broadly expanded Medicare’s telehealth services, so seniors can access more care and health services from home.
  • Included free diagnostic COVID-19 testing and free coverage of a future COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Provided additional funding for Aging and Disability Services Programs, which supports senior nutrition, home-delivered meals, community-based services, and family caregivers.
  • Required Medicare Part D plans to provide up to a 90-day supply of prescription medication if a senior requests this during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Ernst has held multiple telephone town halls over the last few weeks, including one where she was joined by the state director of AARP Iowa, Brad Anderson, and the dean of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, Dr. Brooks Jackson.

Last week, Ernst penned a column about her efforts to secure relief for and ensure the care and safety of Iowa’s seniors. Read her column HER

Background on Ernsts efforts to combat COVID-19:

Senator Ernst has fought to deliver relief to all Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of her efforts:

  • Urged her colleagues to stop playing politics and provide additional support for workers and employers.
  • Called for bolstering the small business emergency loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Delivered major wins for Iowa’s workers, employers, health care industry, and more in the bipartisan Phase 3 package.
  • Supported  the “Phase 1” bipartisan package to provide additional resources to federal, state and local authorities.
  • Helped pass the “Phase 2” bill to provide paid sick leave, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and increased support for nutrition for seniors and children.
  • Called for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Urged the Senate to prioritize relief for hospitals, community health centers, and workers on the front lines.
  • Announced a proposal to immediately redirect the over $350M in the Presidential Campaign Election Fund to be used to purchase specialized face masks and personal protective equipment.
  • Asked the State Department to immediately act to get Iowans stranded abroad back home.
  • Sought tariff relief for Iowa’s businesses by calling on Treasury to defer all tariffs during the pandemic.
  • Urged USDA to provide additional funding for Iowa’s biofuels industry negatively impacted by COVID-19 as well as the state’s livestock industry.
  • Took questions from Iowans in Dubuque and Siouxland areas on COVID-19 relief.
  • Answered questions from Iowans in Quad Cities area on COVID-19 relief.
  • Continued to listen to and answer questions from small businesses across the state.
  • Called on two federal health agencies to protect Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and ensure safe access to care as we continue to work to combat COVID-19.
  • Heard from hundreds of Iowa’s small businesses on her telephone town hall.
  • Participated in discussions at the State Emergency Operations Center with Governor Kim Reynolds.
  • Joined Governor Reynolds at her press conference to give an update on federal relief efforts.
  • Discussed the need to work together – at federal, state, and local level – to tackle COVID-19.
  • Published a column on everyone doing their part to protect seniors and fellow Iowans from COVID-19.
  • Penned a second column outlining the federal relief packages Congress passed and reminding Iowans we will get through this, together.  

For additional information for Iowans on COVID-19, you can visit Senator Ernst’s website, which includes resources for families and individualssmall businessesand seniors.