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Sen. Ernst Talks Healthcare, Taxes at Washington Town Hall

joni ernst
Katarina Sostaric
Sen. Joni Ernst speaks at a town hall meeting in Washington Tuesday, August 15, 2017.

At a town hall Tuesday in Washington, Iowa, Sen. Joni Ernst took several questions about the so-far unsuccessful Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Some questioners asked Sen. Ernst to support "Medicare for all," while others said they want no government involvement in health insurance.

Ernst says bipartisan groups of lawmakers are working on healthcare solutions after "repeal and replace" legislation failed several times in the Senate this year.

"Initially what we’re trying to do is stabilize that individual insurance market," Ernst says. "If that works, then we’ll take a look at other pieces that are failing. Somehow, we need to move forward." 

She says she would ultimately like to get government out of the healthcare industry. Ernst also says Congress needs to address the actual cost of healthcare, not just health insurance.

Answering a question about tax reform, Ernst says it will be difficult, but she hopes to see a bill move forward this fall.

Ernst says it would be great if everyone could have a one-page tax form. But she says when Republican lawmakers gathered to discuss tax reform, each person had certain exemptions and credits that they wanted to keep in the tax code.

"I know we have a lot of work on that," Ernst says. "I had some people express to me they thought it would be a lot easier to get tax reform done than it would be to get healthcare done—I don’t think so. I think there’s a lot of different interests that exist out there, and every community has a different interest."

Ernst says it’s hard to tell what a future tax reform bill might look like, but she wants it to be fair for individuals and small businesses in Iowa.