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Pallone, Murray Blast Trump Administration’s Paltry Report on COVID-19 Health Disparities

May 19, 2020
Press Release
Instead of comprehensive data on testing and health disparities, Trump Administration submitted a four-page report comprised of links to existing CDC webpages with limited data

Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statements criticizing the “report” the Trump Administration submitted last Friday on testing and demographic data associated with COVID-19 as required by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

“The Trump Administration’s four-page report on COVID-19 demographic data is woefully inadequate and completely unacceptable. Congress mandated this report in order to better understand how the coronavirus impacts different demographic groups with the intention of using that information to provide resources and support to help close gaps in COVID-19 health outcomes.  Unfortunately, instead of compiling a comprehensive report, the Trump Administration chose to provide Congress with a few website links to already existing and incomplete demographic data sets. There is no context or explanation regarding missing elements required by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act,” said Congressman Pallone. “This report fails to meet the basic requirements of the law and leaves both Congress and the American people in the dark.  Furthermore, it underscores the urgent need for Congress to require the comprehensive demographic data reporting included in The Heroes Act.”  

“What Congress required was a comprehensive report on health disparities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. What we got from President Trump was a lazy, four page copy and paste project that links to a handful of limited, previously available data sets. This wholly inadequate response tells us nothing except what we already knew: the Trump Administration would prefer to ignore the disproportionate impact this crisis is having on communities of color. We are not done pushing for answers and action here, not by a long shot.”  said Senator Murray.

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act required the Trump Administration to submit to Congress a report on COVID-19 testing that includes available “data on demographic characteristics, including, in a de-identified and disaggregated manner, race, ethnicity, age, sex, geographic region and other relevant factors of individuals tested for or diagnosed with COVID–19,” and “information on the number and rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths as a result of COVID–19.”

In response to this requirement, the Trump Administration last Friday submitted a four-page document that merely provided a list of links to existing, already public, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web pages that include limited data on testing and demographic characteristics.