Issues

COVID-19

Ensuring Health Care Stability During COVID-19

In seeking to coordinate a comprehensive response to the coronavirus crisis, a number of vulnerabilities and inefficiencies in our ability to manage a pandemic have been exposed.  While a number of legislative and regulatory actions have been taken to help our country get through these early stages, there continue to be areas of great need.  And, beyond the immediate need for diagnosing and treating COVID-19 patients, the health care system also has an important role to play as our country slowly reopens.

Stimulus

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act made billions of dollars in federal funding available to hospitals and providers.
  • While the goal of these funds was to alleviate the financial distress of these health systems, reports have surfaced of rich hospital systems accessing these funds, even as they continued to furlough and lay-off frontline medical professionals.

Testing Costs

  • There has been wild variability in the prices charged by labs processing COVID-19 tests.
  • The costs associated with covering those tests are significant: Diagnostic testing is estimated to range from $6 billion to $25 billion a year, while antibody testing is estimated to range from $5 billion to $19 billion.  As such, stakeholders have begun to coalesce around the need to classify these tests as a public health concern to be funded by the government.
  • While these tests are an important component of the larger reopening decision-making matrix, their accuracy – especially for the antibody tests – continues to come into question.