Washington, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) released the following statement after the Senate passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
“The impact of the coronavirus can be felt in every corner of our nation—every person and family, every sector of the economy. Our way of life has been truly shaken, but not our resolve. We can weather this storm, but we all need a little help. Many Americans – sick or not – will need to stay home from work. Many will need testing and care. Our state and local health care providers and first responders are on the front lines of this fight. I have a message for all of you: help is on the way, and more is coming,” said Walden.
H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides an additional $2.5 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, ensures free tests for COVID-19, provides emergency paid leave for workers who become sick, or have to care for a loved one who falls ill, and provides, assistance, support and flexibility for small businesses.
Of the items included under Energy and Commerce’s jurisdiction:
- $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of COVID-19 testing, including $142 million to eliminate copay requirements for servicemembers and veterans.
- $1 billion into the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for the National Disaster Medical System to pay provider claims for health services consisting of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 related items and services for uninsured individuals.
- $64 million to the Indian Health Service (IHS) for health services consisting of SARS–CoV–2 or COVID–19 related items and services.
- $250 million to the Administration for Community Living for activities authorized under the Older Americans Act, consisting of Home-Delivered Nutrition Services, Congregate Nutrition Services, and Nutrition Services for Native Americans.
- Ensures coverage of testing for COVID-19 by requiring all commercial insurance to cover diagnosis of COVID-19 with no cost-sharing, including the administration of tests and office visits, urgent care center visits, and emergency room (ER) visits related to testing for COVID-19 (Section 6001)
- Waives cost sharing for seniors under the Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage Program relating to testing for COVID-19 (Sections 6002-6003)
- Ensures coverage of COVID-19 testing under Medicaid and CHIP at no cost-sharing (Section 6004)
- Codifies HHS administrative action to provide temporary liability protections for approved personal respiratory devices under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, to help increase the supply of respirators (Section 6005)
- Provides coverage of testing for COVID-19 for Indian Health Service (IHS) at no cost sharing (Section 6007)
- Provides states with increased Medicaid Funding for all medical services for the duration of the public health emergency (Section 6008)
- Provides U.S. territories with increased Medicaid funding for all medical services for the next two fiscal years (Section 6009)
- Makes technical improvements to Medicare telehealth authority (Section 6010)