Axne answers call with Social Security bill

Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans President Mike McCarthy (retired AFSCME), Vice President Kay Pence (retired CWA), Secretary Jan Corderman (retired AFSCME), and Treasurer Ken Sagar (retired IBEW and Iowa AFL-CIO President Emeritus) co-authored this commentary.

Years of cuts to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) funding have caused reductions in service. Since 2010, SSA’s national 1-800 number staff shrank by 12 percent even as call volume grew 6 percent. As those staffing cuts started to go into effect, about 10,000 Baby Boomers started reaching retirement age every day. That trend is expected to continue until 2030.

Not everyone retires when they first become eligible, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many seniors into retirement earlier than they planned. Compounding those problems, the pandemic forced local Social Security offices across the country to stop in-person appointments.

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Joni Ernst turned her back on Iowans

Kay Pence is Vice President of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans. -promoted by Laura Belin

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is no longer working for Iowans. She is working at the behest of President Donald Trump, no matter what he says or does. She has become a puppet to Trump no matter how low he sinks, voting with the president more than 91 percent of the time and following his lead to attack our healthcare and defund Social Security.

The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans recently invited Ernst and her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield to virtual forums celebrating the anniversaries of Medicare and Social Security. I was not surprised when Ernst failed to show up for either forum, because she has such a dismal record on both issues.  

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Deep dive on Iowa's record-setting 2020 primary turnout

More Iowans than ever participated in the 2020 primary, and the event changed some features of the Iowa electorate. For the first time in at least 20 years, people who choose not to affiliate with any party don’t comprise a plurality of registered voters. Democrats and Republicans both outnumber no-party voters now.

In other ways, the 529,586 Iowans who cast ballots in the June 2 election resembled past primary voters. For instance, nearly three-quarters of them were at least 50 years old, while about 13 percent were under age 35. Those proportions by age group are remarkably close to corresponding figures from the 2018 primary, when only 288,749 Iowans voted.

Follow me after the jump for a closer look at this year’s expanded voter universe by party, gender, and age.

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Iowa Republicans fail to uphold promises of Older Americans Act

Mike McCarthy is president of the Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans. -promoted by Laura Belin

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law on July 14, 1965. It responded to the need for community services, evidence-based health promotion, disease prevention programs, civic engagement, and elder justice for senior citizens. America’s seniors require a similar response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans believes that seniors must have relevant and accurate information about preventing and treating the coronavirus. Seniors and retirees are becoming more desperate looking for security and a cure. We should be able to trust President Donald Trump’s pronouncements. However, he repeatedly shows us that we cannot believe his statements.

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Grief in the time of COVID

Amy Ward: “We heard that Jay’s passing was peaceful and that two nurses held his hands, but oh, how we hungered to make sure the last words he heard were from those who really loved and knew him.” -promoted by Laura Belin

In early February, our family watched the news about the novel coronavirus. We hoped, as I imagine others did, that our family would somehow remain untouched by the pandemic. That was not to be our fate.

Many of the most powerful COVID-era images that I have seen were taken from New York City or Los Angeles: stark cityscapes that seem far away and nearly foreign. In May, we buried my father-in-law Jay at a peaceful suburban cemetery – not in a big city, but in our verdant hometown of Des Moines, Iowa.

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COVID-19 crisis unmasks health care system's failures

Dr. Glenn Hurst: The nursing homes know that if they accept one COVID-19 patient in their facility, they will likely be sending ten new patients to either the hospital or the coroner. -promoted by Laura Belin

As we look to reopen the U.S. economy, many questions arise regarding whose interests the economy serves. In the health care sector, the answer is large health systems, often at the expense of some of the most vulnerable populations in our state. Their vertical integration of the profitable components of health care provision, hospitals, surgery centers, rehab and physicians, and the casting off of components such as nursing care and hospice have acutely left the older generation at grave risk.

Today’s crisis illustrates the problem. The continued outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Iowa nursing homes should be shocking. The response to calls for assistance to protect these patients should be met with the same distress.

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