March 12, 2020

Cárdenas, Sánchez, Castro Introduce Legislation to Provide Free Coronavirus Tests to Uninsured Americans

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced legislation to provide free coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to uninsured Americans. The bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the National Disaster Medical System, to provide certain laboratory reimbursement for COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

“During this public health emergency, we need to do everything we can to make sure that Americans are taking every precautionary and necessary measure to keep their families safe and slow the spread of the coronavirus,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “We cannot risk American lives for the sake of corporate profits. Our highest priority should be to mitigate and contain the spread of the virus which is why I am proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues Representatives Sánchez and Castro.”

This legislation appropriates $1 billion towards reimbursements for laboratories providing coronavirus testing to uninsured patients.

Last week, Congressman Cárdenas introduced H.R. 6019, the bipartisan “Cure the Coronavirus Act,” legislation to encourage the rapid innovation and approval of a treatment to prevent or cure the Coronavirus Disease 2019. On Wednesday, Congressman Cárdenas and 42 Members sent a letter to Vice President Pence, the designated lead for the federal government’s coronavirus response, urging the Administration to reconsider its “public charge” rule in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Additionally, Congress approved an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak. The emergency supplemental includes:

  • More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, $950 million of which is to support state & local health agencies;
  • Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
  • $1.25 billion to address the coronavirus abroad to help keep Americans safe here at home;