Next Congressional COVID Relief Package Must Include Essential Healthcare Access Measures, Industry Leaders Say
WASHINGTON – As leaders in both houses of Congress assemble the next COVID-19 relief package, it should include provisions to address health access issues that have persisted during the pandemic, the president of the Healthcare Leadership Council said today.
“We have reason for optimism that distribution of current and emerging vaccines will bring our country back to a state of normalcy months from now,” said HLC president Mary R. Grealy. “In the meantime, though, a pandemic that is still seeing tens of thousands of new cases per day continues to create significant healthcare access and care delivery issues. The next relief package Congress passes should address these challenges.”
In a letter to Senate and House leaders, the Healthcare Leadership Council called for multiple actions, including:
• Federal premium subsidies for health coverage continuation (COBRA and state programs that go beyond COBRA) for those who have lost health insurance as a result of the pandemic.
• Increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage.
• Enabling healthcare professionals licensed in good standing to care for patients (whether in-person or through telehealth visits) from any state during the current national public health emergency without jeopardizing their state licensure or facing potential penalties for unauthorized practice of medicine.
• Expanded access to telehealth services.
• Additional support for healthcare providers that are facing unprecedented financial strains during the pandemic, particularly for those providers with large Medicaid populations, significant numbers of COVID-19 patients, and those serving predominantly rural populations.
“Many important actions have already been taken by both Congress and the executive branch, including most recently the Biden Administration’s decision to open the health insurance exchanges for a special enrollment period, but we’re still months from being in the clear and significant needs for both patients and the healthcare system persist. We’re optimistic that Congress can address many of these,” said Ms. Grealy.
For Immediate Release
February 19, 2021
Contact: Kelly Fernandez 202-449-3452