WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped pass the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020. The $8.3 billion emergency package includes funding for vaccine development, support for state and local governments and assistance for businesses effected by the coronavirus.
“Americans deserve a comprehensive plan to make sure our country is prepared to face this threat at every level,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “This package will dedicate $8.3 billion to supporting our state and local governments, help develop treatments and vaccines, keep small businesses running and support our small and rural clinics. I’ll continue to work to address the unique health care challenges facing the district, like provider shortages, so hardworking families have access to affordable, quality care.”
The bill includes “fair and reasonable” price protections for vaccines and diagnostics and a waiver on certain Medicare telehealth restrictions, allowing Medicare providers to deliver telehealth services to potential patients across the country.
The funding package includes:
- Small Business Disaster Loans –$1 billion in loan subsidies to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations impacted by coronavirus.
- Support for State and Local Health Department – $2.2 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
- Support for Vaccine and Diagnostic Development – More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.
- Funding for Medical Supplies – $500 million for the procurement of pharmaceuticals, masks, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies, which can be distributed to state and local health agencies.
- Support for Rural Health Clinics – $100 million for health services through Community Health Centers, which will support smaller health clinics across the country in under-served urban and rural areas.
Last week, Congresswoman Bustos questioned Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II on the Administration’s efforts to prepare local providers for the coronavirus and address the issue of health care provider shortages across rural America.
Today, the Congresswoman pushed Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert Wilkie to ensure the VA is coordinating with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make sure veterans are educated about preventing the coronavirus and how the VA would respond in case there was an outbreak among veterans.