03.06.21

Senator Murray Applauds Steps in American Rescue Plan to Help People Get Quality, Affordable Health Care

American Rescue Plan takes steps to help families get health coverage amid pandemic and economic crisis

 

Legislation also includes billions in support for Community Health Centers, mental health care, and programs to reach underserved communities and communities of color

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statements on the inclusion of provisions in the American Rescue Plan to help families get quality, affordable health care.

 

The American Rescue Plan, builds on the progress of the Affordable Care Act to ensure access to health coverage by lowering or eliminating health insurance premiums for millions of Americans who buy insurance through the marketplaces, providing incentives for states to expand Medicaid, and subsidizing continuation health coverage (COBRA) for those who have lost their employer-sponsored coverage.


“After four years of Republican health care attacks, a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a constantly rising uninsured rate, we have a huge task ahead of us to reverse the damaging trend of more and more families losing their health care. Our goal must always be to help people get quality, affordable health care—but especially so during a pandemic. That’s why the American Rescue Plan would take steps to help people keep their coverage after losing their job, help them afford new coverage on the exchanges, and incentivize more states to finally expand coverage through Medicaid.”

 

The COVID package also takes a number of steps to help make sure people can get the care they need close to home. The legislation builds on investments made last year to fund Community Health Centers which millions of families rely on for care. It also works to address health care disparities by funding programs that serve communities of color and to support care for seniors and people with disabilities.

 

 “It is absolutely critical we make sure community health centers can keep their doors open to patients in the face of this pandemic. I pushed to make sure our latest COVID relief package included robust funding for community health centers, because I know they are a lifeline to families in Washington state and across the country who have nowhere else to turn for health care—and that lifeline has become all the more important during the COVID-19 crisis. As we work to test, treat, and vaccinate people, these centers will continue to be a valuable partner in reaching hard-hit communities of color and hard to reach rural and underserved areas.

 

“Supporting community health centers is also one of the ways we can address the reality that this pandemic has been more deadly for communities of color and has exacerbated longstanding inequities in health care. The American Rescue Plan will help us build back stronger and fairer by investing in community health centers and also by providing other dedicated funding on issues like tests, vaccines, and mental health care to help communities of color, Tribes, and others who have been historically overlooked and underserved by our health care system.”

 

The American Rescue Plan includes:

  • Funding for programs that reach communities of color and underserved communities, including:
    • $7.6 billion for community health centers, Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes, and Native Hawaiian Health Centers.
    • $800 million for the National Health Service Corps
    • $200 million for the Nurse Corps
    • $330 million for teaching health centers that operate graduate medical education programs
    • $1 billion for emergency assistance for children, families, and workers through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
    • $250 million for nursing home strike teams to manage COVID-19 outbreaks and another $200 million for infection control in nursing homes.
  • $12.7 billion for Home- and Community Based Services (HCBS), to help ensure people with disabilities can get the care they need in their own homes and support the home care workforce.
  • Around $4 billion for mental health, including the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Community Mental Health Block Grants, youth suicide prevention, and other mental health funding sources.
  • $6.1 billion for the Indian Health Service, including $420 million for mental health and substance use disorder services.  

 

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