Washington, DC — On July 15, United States of Care (USofCare) identified three urgent priorities for Congress to address in its next COVID-19 relief package as negotiations begin towards passage prior to the August congressional recess. Many of USofCare’s federal recommendations back in April were included in previously passed pandemic response efforts.
“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and the plain truth is that only the federal government can provide the resources necessary for our communities to work in unison to combat COVID-19,” said Emily Barson, USofCare’s Executive Director. “Only Congress is capable of building a reliable health care system with enough resources to support frontline workers and our communities, including those disproportionately impacted, both now and after the pandemic. We stand ready to work across the aisle with both the House and the Senate on the next pandemic relief package, but the window of opportunity for Congress to act is closing. To ease the process, we are providing policymakers with a set of achievable federal policy recommendations that will enable people and states and local governments to battle COVID-19 more effectively before a vaccine is available.”
USofCare urges Congress to address the following three priorities in its next COVID-19 relief package:
Support an Ongoing Robust Public Health Response
- Appropriate $75 billion for contact tracing, testing, and isolation efforts across the country
Support People and States
- Appropriate $500 billion in new state and local funding
- Establish new incentives for states to increase Medicaid eligibility.
- Provide $38.5 billion to ensure the continuation of critical mental health resources.
Transform Health Care For The Future
- Build a health care workforce to tackle COVID-19 and future pandemics in all communities
- Establish a COVID-19 Health Care Resilience Program to improve access and care and keep providers in business. Upfront payments would immediately allow providers to invest in the resources they need to respond to COVID-19, including
- Testing supplies (e.g., personal protective equipment) and staff for screening, testing, and contact tracing;
- Infrastructure to facilitate COVID-19 data sharing with public health authorities; and
- Telehealth and remote monitoring tools to support the implementation or expansion of home-based models of care.