Pappas Urges House Leadership to Make Free COVID-19 Treatment a Top Priority in Upcoming Relief Package

June 22, 2020
Press Release
Letter signed by 19 Members of Congress calls for the prohibition of cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment under Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and private insurance

Today, Representative Chris Pappas (NH-01) along with Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At Large), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), and Sean Casten (IL-06) led 15 additional lawmakers in urging Speaker Pelosi to prioritize measures to increase affordability of COVID-19 treatment in the next relief package to ensure that the exorbitant costs of this pandemic does not continue to fall on American families. Specifically, the lawmakers are calling for a prohibition on cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment under Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and private insurance.

“To protect our families and our communities, we must ensure that every American has access to affordable COVID-19 treatment,” said Congressman Pappas. “It is time for Congress to remove the financial barriers that prevent vulnerable Granite Staters from getting the care they need.” 

“Health care costs continue to place a significant burden on American families. Even insured individuals often struggle to pay for necessary care, and this problem has been exacerbated by job losses and economic dislocation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers write. “After the deaths of more than 100,000 people across the country, we strongly believe that Congress has a responsibility to remove financial barriers to receiving care and must take action to ensure that every American can mitigate the health effects of COVID-19.”

In April, Congressman Pappas introduced H.R. 6511, the Ensuring Treatment and Vaccination Act, which would allow Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries to access treatment and vaccination for COVID-19 without being subject to out-of-pocket costs. Similar legislation to prohibit cost-sharing for treatment in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and private insurance was introduced by Rep. Mucarsel-Powell, Rep. Casten, and Rep. Blunt Rochester, respectively. These bills were included in the Heroes Act which passed the House on May 15, 2020.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi:

We write in the interest of ensuring access to treatment for COVID-19. As our communities continue to grapple with the effects of this pandemic and experts warn of the potential for a second wave of cases in the near future, it is imperative that costs are not prohibitive for any available treatments. We therefore urge you to prioritize proposals eliminating cost-sharing for these services in negotiations with the Senate. 

Health care costs continue to place a significant burden on American families. Even insured individuals often struggle to pay for necessary care, and this problem has been exacerbated by job losses and economic dislocation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if we are to effectively mitigate both the health effects and economic fallout of this crisis, it is critical that cost does not prevent low and middle-income Americans, especially those at high risk, from accessing treatment.

We appreciate your leadership in including language prohibiting cost-sharing for treatment in Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, and private insurance in the Heroes Act. As you know, access to care is critical to supporting the health of not only of the individual receiving care, but of our communities as a whole. Again, after the deaths of more than 100,000 people across the country, we strongly believe that Congress has a responsibility to remove financial barriers to receiving care and must take action to ensure that every American can mitigate the health effects of COVID-19. 

We appreciate your consideration of this request.