Health Industry Leaders Recommend Comprehensive Package of Healthcare Quality, Coverage Measures for Next Congressional COVID-19 Package
WASHINGTON – Leaders from healthcare companies representing every sector of the health industry have recommended nearly 50 specific measures to congressional leaders, addressing a wide range of needs from health provider capacity to healthcare coverage and costs to biopharmaceutical innovation, that they say should be considered for the next legislative package lawmakers adopt to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Senate and House leaders, the Healthcare Leadership Council has offered detailed policy recommendations that, according to HLC president Mary R. Grealy, will provide critical support to healthcare providers struggling with growing needs during the pandemic and enable working Americans who are facing job and income losses to maintain their health insurance coverage.
“As Congress continues to respond to the nation’s needs during this unprecedented challenge, there are actions that must be taken to address urgent and critical imperatives that exist at the patient, provider, and innovator levels,” she said.
Among the recommendations offered to lawmakers:
- Federal premium subsidies, optimally set at 100 percent of costs, for COBRA coverage and state programs that go beyond COBRA for those who have lost their healthcare coverage as a result of COVID-19. Also, HLC recommended a special enrollment period to allow uninsured Americans to purchase coverage on the exchanges.
- Further financial support for healthcare providers that are losing revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that needs are met for providers with large Medicaid populations, those with significant numbers of COVID-19 patients, those in value-based care programs including Medicare Advantage providers, and those serving predominantly rural areas.
- Steps to bolster the healthcare workforce including a federal waiver of state licensure restrictions to allow healthcare professionals to move across state lines to areas of greatest need and swift approval of temporary visas for nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
- Incentives to encourage private investment in improved vaccine technologies and development of new antibiotics to fight antimicrobial resistant infections.
Ms. Grealy emphasized that these recommendations are essential not only to address the current pandemic but also to ease a return to normalcy when the crisis subsides and to prepare for future health emergencies.
April 20, 2020
Contact: Kelly Fernandez 202-449-3452
The Healthcare Leadership Council is a coalition of chief executives of the nation’s leading health care companies and organizations. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthInFocus