Care for All During COVID
We applaud the House and Senate for passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a monumental and necessary act that expands coverage of testing for the novel coronavirus and is an important first step in protecting the most vulnerable during this pandemic.
Posted on Mar 24, 2020
While passing this bill was an important first step, it is not sufficient. We must take further action, as the bill:
- Does not guarantee sick pay for millions of workers, which is critical to slowing the spread of the virus, and is vital to protect our communities against the continued risk of this pandemic.
- Does not cover costs related to COVID care and treatment. These costs will continue to affect Americans’ ability and willingness to seek care and inhibit efforts to slow the pandemic. The bill will also result in significant costs for the uninsured and those served by the Indian Health Service.
- Does not expand access to home and community-based services to deliver care and social support, which our experience during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and other epidemics, has taught us that community-based care is critical to expanding access and improving outcomes, especially for the most vulnerable.
- Does not go far enough to protect our frontline by ensuring the equipment necessary to protect health care workers and investments to expand hospital capacity to manage the high number of cases, which, as our hospitals and health systems become overwhelmed, will be critical in reducing preventable deaths.
What you can do
Sign our pledge: Health Care is a Human Right
We believe that every single person—regardless of where you were born, or how much money you make—has a right to receive high-quality health care.
During COVID-19, we’re seeking global health advocates to join our movement as we work to ensure care for all.
Call your elected official
Urge your elected officials to support or draft legislation that:
- Provides paid sick leave to all Americans:This includes supporting bill >S.3415 - Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act to expand the availability of paid sick leave.
- Is responsive to the needs of Native American communities including:
- Ensuring meaningful engagement of Native communities and Tribal leaders in the COVID-19 response including representation of the Indian Health Service (IHS) on the WH Coronavirus Task Force Tribal health departments and other actions outlined in Senator Udall’s bi-partisan letter to the White House;
- Provides Tribal leaders, Tribal health departments, and urban Indian health programs with equal access to COVID-19 related information that is provided to their state and local counterparts;
- Direct all COVID-19 resources identified by Congress for Native communities’ use to impacted IHS facilities, Tribes, and urban Indian health programs in a timely manner (concerns have already been raised regarding the limited response), and support bill S.3514 (A bill to ensure that facilities of the Indian Health Service, facilities operated by an Indian tribe, tribal organization, or inter-tribal consortium, and facilities operated by an urban Indian organization receive items from the strategic national stockpile and qualified pandemic or epidemic products directly from the Department of Health and Human Services.)
- Covers individuals for all medically necessary services in connections with COVID-related testing, treatment and recovery: All Americans, regardless of whether they are covered by private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or uninsured should have the cost of any COVID-19 related treatment and recovery covered, including treatment for complications and other health conditions arising from COVID-19. This should be provided with no cost share to ensure Americans foremost seek early treatment and are protected from catastrophic health expenditures associated with COVID-19.
- Expands access to home- and community-based service provision to reduce the burden on the health system: As the health system becomes overburdened and Americans avoid seeking care for non-COVID related illnesses, it will be imperative to cover and pay for care and treatment furnished in off-site settings that can supplement the capabilities of desperately overstretched hospitals. In order to ensure there is continuity of care for all patients with chronic illnesses and other health complications do not go untreated during the outbreak, the government should authorize temporary payment increases to provide home and community-based care, including additional nursing assistance to deal with intensive patient needs.
- Protects those on the frontlines providing care: Our health care workforce is putting themselves at substantial risk and personal sacrifice to respond to this outbreak. Ensuring that all health care workers have access to sufficient occupational health equipment and supplies (including most critically PPE), have paid sick leave, and are prioritized for testing is critical. Moreover, infrastructure investments, including establishment of additional health facilities and capacity, will be essential to enable a safe space for both providers and patients.
- Collaborates and provides ongoing resources to international partners to curb the global spread of COVID-19 and provide care, including support to S.Res.505. (A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the United States will continue to provide support to international partners to help prevent and stop the spread of coronavirus.) We cannot forget that this pandemic was driven by the interconnected world we live in. The CDC and USAID must now be given the funding necessary to support critical public health and health care capacity in countries with far weaker health systems and fewer options in terms of fiscal stimulus and other policies.