President Trump announced on Friday that the government will pay for coronavirus treatments for those without insurance by using funds from the $2.2 trillion economic aid package the president signed into law last week.
‘I can so proudly announce that hospitals and health care providers treating uninsured coronavirus patients will be reimbursed by the federal government using funds from the economic relief package,’ the president said at his daily press briefing.
‘That should alleviate any concern on uninsured Americans have about seeking coronavirus treatment. That answers the question pretty well. And pretty much in the favor of our great people,’ he added.
His announcement comes on the same day a federal report showed more than 700,000 jobs were lost in March after many businesses closed due to the coronavirus. Nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the final two weeks of March.
Vice President Mike Pence said Trump’s decision will ensure that ‘no American will ever have to worry about paying for testing or for coronavirus treatment.’
He noted the federal entitlement programs were already covering coronavirus treatments.
‘I am pleased to report that at the president’s direction, Medicaid and Medicare already expanded to coronavirus treatment and testing early on,’ he added.
‘I will make sure that any American knows — even those with no insurance will be able to receive treatment in the hospital and never have to worry about the bill,’ Pence noted.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that any hospital that accepts federal funding will ‘be forbidden from balance billing the uninsured for the cost of their care.’
‘Providers will be reimbursed at Medicare rates,’ he noted.
He also had a message for those who have lost their jobs.
‘I would also like to remind people that if you have lost employer insurance coverage, you have insurance options that you should look into. You would be eligible for a special enrollment, back on the health care of exchanges, and depending on your states, you may be eligible for Medicaid.’
The administration’s announcement also comes after the White House decided not to extend an open enrollment period for Obamacare.
President Trump had kept alive the idea of expanding the open enrollment period for health coverage due to the crisis, even though the administration is arguing in the Supreme Court that the law is unconstitutional.
‘It’s something we’re talking to a lot of people about. We’ll see what happens,’ Trump said last month.
But the White House said Tuesday it would not follow through on having a ‘special enrollment period’ where Americans could still sign-up, Politico reported.
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