When the White House begs Republicans in Congress for emergency assistance to fight the coronavirus, the federal government has set up a fund to reimburse doctors for the care of uninsured Covid patients. He said he was no longer accepting requests for testing and treatment due to lack of funding. “
Some US healthcare providers have informed uninsured people that they will no longer be able to test for free viruses and will have to pay for the service.
Kimberly B. Gorod, a spokesman for the chain, said Quest Diagnostics, which operates one of the largest networks of test sites and laboratories in the United States, was unavailable for redemption last week. He said he started notifying clients.
The patient is said to be “not available for free,” she said. Uninsured people have to pay $ 125 to test with Quest Diagnostics, but other testing services can charge up to $ 195.
Customers with private insurance or covered by Medicare or Medicaid will not be affected, she said.
The Federal Covid’s uninsured program was established in 2020 to pay for medical expenses for patients with coronavirus who do not have health insurance. Earlier this year, during the Omicron wave, the program allowed major laboratories to perform 500,000 monthly tests on uninsured individuals for free. To the American Clinical Testing Association.
In 2021, the program spent $ 130 million on refunds to healthcare providers for uninsured testing, treatment and vaccination.
Approximately 31.2 million Americans are uninsured, according to 2020 federal data. Uninsured people are more likely to be people of color or low-income households.
The White House recently called for $ 22.5 billion in emergency Covid aid, but Congressional Republicans have found another way to raise money, unless Congressmen are still struggling to break the deadlock. , Said not to approve another aid package. Using about $ 7 billion in state government coronavirus aid to help pay for smaller $ 15.6 billion packages opposed White House Democrats and Governor’s regaining that money earlier this month. Sometimes it collapsed.
On Wednesday, the Federal Department of Health and Resources Services stopped accepting requests for testing and treatment of uninsured patients. On April 6, authorities will stop reimbursement to healthcare providers to vaccinate uninsured people.
Federal health officials said Wednesday that funds were stagnant in BA.2, a highly infectious submicron variant that accounts for about 35% of new cases in the United States, and a spread of viral morphology similar to the wiped-out version. Repeated concerns about the impact of the virus. This winter country.
Health and Welfare Secretary Xavier Becerra warned last week that the test refund would end.
Mentioning President Biden’s recently announced Covid Response Plan, “Continuous implementation requires continued support from Congress, and at this stage our resources are depleted.”
Pharmacies operate 20,000 testing sites nationwide, and until this month, many have used federal emergency funds to provide testing and vaccinations to uninsured Americans.
“This puts healthcare providers in a very sparse position,” the National Chain Drugstore Association wrote in a recent letter to the White House and Congressional leaders.
Cutting off funding “can cause extreme confusion at pharmacy counters,” the letter said, “causing the tragedy of widening the gap between patients who give up access to and care that is in high demand.” There is a possibility”.
The American Hospital Association has called on Congress to release the relief fund and described the uninsured program as one of the services “essential to our ability to respond to Covid-19.”
In some cases, county, state, or other federal programs may offer alternatives to uninsured individuals.