Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a fourth federal COVID-19 relief package. This act will augment funding established in the CARES Act, passed on March 27th. While this relief will help many Americans facing health and economic shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic, major gaps remain in our system that must be addressed to help states and individuals fully respond to the economic and public health crisis caused by the coronavirus.
Health Access, along with a coalition of over 50 organizations, recently sent a letter to California Congressional leaders urging specific patient protections and health investments to provide relief to Californians and our health care system.
Congress needs to immediately get back to work to fill gaps in our health care system that further stymie our recovery efforts – both for our public health and our economy.
We urge congressional leaders to come back to the table to craft additional legislation that ensures everyone – regardless of health insurance or immigration status – can get the testing and treatment they need without worry of financial hardship. We will not be able to together come out of this pandemic unless we all have equal access to treatment and care.
Every state, including California, desperately needs federal aid to prevent massive cuts to core services, from health to education and more. It’s troublesome that state aid wasn’t in this package, and that any Senator of any state would suggest economically devastating bankruptcy instead.
All the money to try to prevent bankruptcies in the private sector would be wasted if that economic stimulus was overwhelmed by a rash of cuts, layoffs, and closed services by states and local government. State budgets will be hit hard with lost tax revenues, and without significant additional assistance will be forced to cut health and human services at the very time they are most needed. California did the right thing and built a strong budget reserve, but even our state will need significant help from the federal government, as states have needed in past economic downturns.
Health Access Factsheet: State & Federal Responses to COVID-19