NU 610 Health Care Policy and Finance
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act), which is also known as the Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations was sponsored by Rep. Courtney Joe on the 24th of January 201 and signed into law on the 27th of March 2020, and marked the third and largest significant legislative initiative to address the COVID-19 pandemic since its outbreak (Congress, 2020). The CARES Act is important because it entails several health-related provisions that focus on the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the US, incorporating paid sick leave, insurance coverage of Coronavirus testing, nutrition help, and several other programs and efforts aimed at fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. This law also contains some provisions that are not closely associated with health but which are vital elements of the response to the outbreak, like those that concern support for small businesses and adversely stressed sectors of the US economy and childcare. As it stands, this bill is important, and I fully support it because it is helping in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that the health sector and other support sectors get the financial support they need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. This paper presents the reasons to support the CARES Act, including statics of persons affected and monetary costs the bill addresses.
Reasons for Support the CARES Act
Supporting America's Health Care System in the Fight against The Coronavirus
One of the reasons to support the bill is that it came at the right time to respond to and help America’s health system in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak and its impacts on public health and individuals. The bill has health provisions such as those that address the shortage of health supplies to individuals affected by the pandemic (Congress, 2020). The bill ensures that medical products are supplied to healthcare facilities to help fight against the Coronavirus. In this sense, the bill subjects he Department of Health Service (HHS) to sign an agreement with the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to report on the security of the US medical product supply chain. The strategic national stockpile incorporates personal protective equipment and supplies needed for the administration of medicines, vaccines, biological products, medical devices, and diagnostic tests (Cherry & Jacob, 2016). The medical product supplies section of the bill revises targeted liability by considering certain claims that arise from the utilization of respiratory protective devices such as mask that was approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Congress, 2020). These protection devices apply when HHS declares them to be a priority for utilization during s declared a public health emergency.
Besides, this bill mitigates the emergency drug shortages by notifying manufacturers of likely disruption in the supply of drugs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which must prioritize and expedite an application review to assist in the mitigation or prevention of drug shortages or prioritize and expedite inspection of an establishment that could assist in mitigating or preventing drug shortage (Congress, 2020). The section of mitigating emergency and drug shortages expands the reporting requirements for manufacturers about drug shortages and requires manufacturers to establish risk-management plans. The FDA is required to periodically transmit a report of shortage to the center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. For instance, in case an FDA inspection shows that a drug or a product that is under shortage or being interrupted is contaminated, a report is sent to a relevant FDA expert with drug shortage expertise. Most importantly, this bill is important because it also helps prevent medical device shortages by enabling the manufacturer of such products to notify the FDA of any shortage or interruptions or permanent discontinuance for FDA to prioritize and expedite.
Access to Health Care for Covid-19 Patients
The second reason for supporting the CARES Act bill is because it makes it easier for individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to access health care. The bill has provisions such as the coverage of testing and preventive services, which expand that scope of diagnostic testing for COVI-19 that private health insurance plans cover. Specifically, this bill requires that coverage of tests which have not been approved by the FDA in cases where: the developer of the particular test requests emergency use authorization, unless such request is not accepted or not submitted with a required time; the test device is created and authorized in a state that notified HHS that it intends to review the tests; or when HHS has guided that the test is appropriate. Besides, this section states the process for private insurance plan issuers to reimburse providers of COVID-19 diagnostic tests (Congress, 2020). Typically, a reimbursement rate is negotiated for such a test prior o the public health emergency that was declared on the 31st of January 2020. Besides, the bill requires that test providers must publish the cash price of tests on their websites, and HHs may assess a civil penalty for any violation of the requirement.
Additionally, this section reduces the time frame under which private health insurance plans must cover specific new preventive services associated with COVID-19. Most importantly, this bill supports Health care providers that serve medically underserved populations for evidence-based models that aim at increasing access to high-quality primary care services by providing them with additional funding. The support enables the healthcare centers to conduct COVI-19 screening, prevent, and treat affected patients. Specifically, this bill modifies grants for telehealth networks and telehealth resources centers serving medically under severed populations. Moreover, this section of the bill allows the Department of labor in response to the effects of public health emergency to extend the length of time persons affected may participate in their healthcare.
Purpose of the CARES Act
The CARES Act was enacted with the sole purpose of addressing the economic fallout and public health issues brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. While addressing public healthcare issues brought about by the Coronavirus, this bill saw over $130 billion disbursed to hospitals, healthcare systems, and healthcare providers to help in fighting the impacts of COVID-19 (Gellerman, 2020). Besides, this bill also saw cash grants provided to large and small business, and both state and local governments to help them fight the impacts of COVID-19. Specifically, the stimulus healthcare plan addressed both direct healthcare needs during the emergency and financing for prevention and treatment. The plan boosted payments to healthcare providers and suppliers through different programs such as Medicaid reimbursements, grants, as well as other direct federal payments.
Statistics of Patients and Nurse Affected
This bill aims to support over 600,000 persons infected with COVID-19. For instance, individuals affected by the pandemic were allocated $560 billion to help them recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 (Gellerman, 2020). Public health, which supports nurses and other healthcare workers, received$153.5 billion to help nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as other healthcare professionals, to order home health services for the beneficiaries, thus help them reduce delays and increasing beneficiary access care in the safety of their home. The bill increased and enhanced Medicare payments for hospital services benefiting both providers and patients. For instance, inpatient Medicare reimbursement for hospital services to COVID-19 patients included a 20 percent addition to the weighting factor for the related diagnosis-associated group (Gellerman, 2020). The Act changed the CMS policy by allowing advance payments to hospitals during the emergency, which have increased from 70 percent to 100 percent and 125 percent for critical care hospitals, with the recoupment period extended to 120 days. Besides, the bill provides reauthorization of Healthy Start for women and their families who may require extra support during the COVID‐19 pandemic period.
Monetary Cost of Days Lost in Work
The CARES Act offers Economic Impact Payments to American households of up to $1,200 per adult for persons whose income is below $99,000 and $ 500 per child under the age of 17 years old and up to $3,400 for a family of four for the days of work lost as a result of the pandemic (Gellerman, 2020). Besides, the Act provides funding support for short-time compensation programs, in cases where employers decrease employee hours instead of laying them off. Besides, the employees with reduced work hours also received a pro-rated unemployment benefit.
Overall, the CARES Act came just at the right time when the COVID-19 emergency has overstretched the public health system to its limit. Besides, this bill has continuously supported America's Health Care System in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic that is shaking the world. The bill has made it possible for all COVID-19 patients, including the underserved populations, to receive quality healthcare services. Besides, the Act is effectively addressing the economic fallout and public health issues brought by COVID-19 pandemic it was meant to address. Several individuals and healthcare providers continue to benefit from the Act. Besides, the Act has ensured that the monetary cost of days lost in work has been compensated.
Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2016). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, & management. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Congress. (2020). H.R.748 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): CARES Act. Retrieved 19 June 2020, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748
Gellerman, E. (2020). The CARES Act: A Simple Summary | Bench Accounting. Retrieved 19 June 2020, from https://bench.co/blog/operations/cares-act/