News Article

Mauro Calls for Major COVID-19 National Emergency

Eddie Mauro



Mauro calls for new measures including temporarily expanding Medicare and Medicaid to provide free infectious disease tests

(March 10, 2020 – Des Moines) -- U.S. Senate Candidate Eddie Mauro (D-IA) released the following statement in response to a rising number of new COVID-19 / coronavirus cases in Iowa:

"It’s time to set politics aside and take bold steps to protect families and address new infectious disease pandemics with the urgency they deserve.

First, I’m calling on the business community to step up and make it clear that no one will lose their job, benefits, or pay if they decide to stay home due to coronavirus or flu symptoms. I’ve provided paid leave at my companies, and on my campaign for years and will continue to do so. I hope others in the business community will follow my example. For those who have taken this step already - thank you. For those still deciding, please consider the health, well-being, and safety of your employees, their families and the communities with whom they interact.

Second, we need to significantly increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control. Recent bipartisan funding requests are a good first step, but we need a sustained and ongoing commitment to respect scientists and medical professionals. Good science is the best defense against outbreaks like COVID-19.

Third, I’ve told my campaign staff and employees that if they are experiencing flu or cold-like symptoms that they should seek medical attention, self-quarantine and that their jobs are safe. I have also canceled all scheduled public campaign events while we evaluate the ongoing risk to our staff and constituents.

The Trump Administration, Senator Ernst, and others in Congress have failed in their duty to protect Iowans. In addition to walking the talk on protecting employees and campaign staff, and postponing currently planned campaign events, I am proposing several specific federal policy steps that can be taken to make progress today. These steps are also a model for policies that will improve public health, protect national security, and make families safe:

  1. Declare a national emergency and mobilize the National Guard and other federal resources to expand, manufacture, and distribute COVID-19 Tests. Experts estimate that the U.S. may need up to 30 million tests to have an accurate picture of the extent of the spread of the virus. There should be a mobilization of both federal and private sector resources not seen since the New Deal in response to this emerging pandemic.

  2. Upon declaration of a National Emergency related to spreading of infectious diseases, temporarily expand Medicare and Medicaid to provide free infectious disease tests and treatment to patients who a medical professional has determined to need testing for the coronavirus. Cost is regularly a deterrent to individuals seeking treatment for the common cold or influenza, and cannot be a barrier during this outbreak. The Federal Government should immediately make tests available to all Americans regardless of ability to pay and use Medicaid and Medicare to cover the expense of treatment.

  3. Expand Medicare and Medicaid to cover treatment for every American who tests positive for COVID-19 / coronavirus upon declaration of a national emergency.

  4. We must immediately appoint a Dedicated Infectious Disease Specialist to the National Security Council. Additionally, the United States Senate and House of Representatives should immediately appoint a nonpartisan team of infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, and security experts to a Joint Task Force on COVID-19 Response.

  5. The Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Division should authorize a short-term policy allowing unemployment insurance benefits to be used to extend paid leave benefits to all U.S. employees without penalty or increase in unemployment insurance rates. Paid Family Leave related to COVID-19 should be extended to at least two (2) weeks under this policy.

While the above steps will not stop the spread of COVID-19, a swift, bipartisan and resolute response will slow the disease as well as prepare the medical community to treat future patients. I’m a father first and the wellbeing of my family, staff, and my fellow Americans will always be my paramount mission.

Eddie Mauro
US Senate Candidate