At Trial Site News, readers are increasingly requesting information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The just-passed US coronavirus-relief legislation focuses on direct economic aid, and it also includes some specific measures to address the medical crisis. It will distribute capital to individuals, families and corporations as well as healthcare providers, local and state, and impose some requirements on payers.
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was signed by President Trump on Friday March 27, 2020. The Act is something of a “kitchen sink” approach, in that its 880 pages allocate resources to everyone from large corporations to individuals who earn less than $75,000, along with including a myriad of regulatory changes.
An NPR analysis sums up some key facts: About $560 billion is expected to go to individuals and families, about $500 billion is earmarked for large corporations, $377 billion is focused on small business, state and local government will get about $339.8 billion, public health will receive $153.5 billion, and about $70 billion will go to miscellaneous measures. NPR notes that this is the third recent stimulus/relief package. Medical industry-specific aid includes: $100 billion for hospitals, $1.32 billion in funding for community centers serving 28 million people, $11 billion for testing, treatments, and vaccines. “The bill also includes $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize and expedite approval of new drugs.” In other measures, the Act reauthorizes a tele-health program and allocates $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile for items such as ventilators.
Other specific CARES Act language is designed to expand our response to COVID-19: “A group health plan….shall provide coverage, and shall not impose any cost-sharing…requirements or prior authorization…for… An in vitro diagnostic product…for the detection of SARS–CoV–2 or the diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID–19….” Under Section 4202 of the Act, “Each provider of a diagnostic test for COVID-19 shall make public the cash price for such test on a public internet website of such provider.” The law also requires that “group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance…cover any qualifying coronavirus preventive service and that is…an evidence-based item or service…or…an immunization that has in effect a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….”
Here at TrialSite News, we will continue to analyze this complex legislation as part of our thorough coverage of the medical and pharmaceutical impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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