WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), joined her colleagues in introducing legislation that would expand free tests to confirm coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. This effort is being led by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN) Gary Peters (D-MI), Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee.
“In order to effectively combat the coronavirus, we need to provide free testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m supporting this legislation because everyone must have access to free testing for COVID-19.”
“Adequate testing for COVID-19 is a critical step to stem the tide of the pandemic,” said Senator Wyden. “Beyond increasing the availability of the test, it needs to be free so Americans don’t have to choose between getting tested or putting food on the table for their loved ones. People need to know that they can walk into their health provider without fear of getting a big medical bill for the test.”
The Free COVID-19 Testing Act introduced this week would waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services for individuals enrolled in private health plans, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA as well as for federal civilians, American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Private insurers would be barred from imposing limits like prior authorization for testing. For uninsured individuals, this legislation would cover the cost of lab fees, and states would have the option and new incentives to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services through their Medicaid programs.
In addition to Senators Baldwin, Wyden, Smith, Peters, Schumer and Murray, this legislation is also supported by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
More information about the Free COVID-19 Testing Act is here.
An online version of this release is available here.