Democratic Health Leaders Call for Free COVID-19 Treatment for All Americans
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Senate HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a joint statement today calling for additional Congressional action to ensure that COVID-19 treatment is free of cost for everyone and that people have the opportunity to sign up for health insurance:
“Tonight, the Trump Administration announced a proposal to use funds from the CARES Act to cover the cost of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured Americans. While we agree that coronavirus treatment should be free for the uninsured, we also believe they must have access to affordable health insurance for all of their health care needs during this severe economic downturn. We also continue to believe that COVID-19 treatment must be free for all patients.
“To meaningfully address the dire needs of Americans who are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented economic downturn we believe that Congress must take action to:
- Eliminate out-of-pocket costs for all medical care related to COVID-19 for all patients—not just care delivered in a hospital;
- Increase health care tax credits to lower health insurance premiums;
- Provide financial assistance to help workers who are laid off, furloughed, or experience reduced hours maintain their job-based coverage through COBRA;
- Increase the number of Americans eligible for health care tax credits;
- Open a special enrollment period nationally so people who need health coverage can sign up on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges; and
- Incentivize the remaining states to expand Medicaid by increasing the federal share of the cost.
“In the meantime, we strongly urge President Trump to reconsider his decision against allowing uninsured and underinsured Americans to sign up for health insurance on the Marketplace. Allowing people to sign up for coverage on HealthCare.gov is one of the quickest and most meaningful ways the president can help Americans and provide some relief in this time of crisis.”