Murray: “Republicans’ latest response plan does nothing to address the fact that millions of people have already lost their health coverage and are worried about how they can afford the care they need during this crisis.”
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement about the importance of addressing health care costs, expanding access to quality, affordable health care, and ensuring no-cost COVID-19 treatment. Senator Murray issued the statement in response to Republicans unveiling their latest package of proposals regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which fails to address these issues.
“Republicans’ latest response plan does nothing to address the fact that millions of people have already lost their health coverage and are worried about how they can get the care they need during this crisis. It doesn’t even include policies like a special enrollment period or ensuring that patients won’t pay for COVID-19 treatment.
“We are in the middle of a crisis that demands we prevent cost from being a barrier to people getting the care they need, which is why Democrats have put forward ideas to expand access to quality, affordable, coverage, to help people keep coverage if they lose their job, to make sure treatment, testing, and vaccines are available at no cost, to end surprise billing, and more. I’m going to keep pushing for Republicans to work with us on these commonsense steps.”
Senator Murray has previously put out a White Paper with Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tina Smith (D-MN) on affordability policies, and she put out a statement with other Democratic health leaders shortly after passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, calling for the next response package to:
· Eliminate out-of-pocket costs for all medical care related to COVID-19;
· Increase health care tax credits to lower health insurance premiums;
· Provide financial assistance to help workers who are laid off, furloughed, or experience reduced hours maintain their job-based coverage through COBRA;
· Increase the number of Americans eligible for health care tax credits;
· Open a special enrollment period nationally so people who need health coverage can sign up on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges; and
· Incentivize the remaining states to expand Medicaid by increasing the federal share of the cost.