March 05, 2020
Congress Passes Coronavirus Legislation
This week Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency legislative package to address the coronavirus. The legislation passed on Wednesday in the House of Representatives by a vote of 415-2 and the Senate passed the legislation Thursday.
Among the provisions included in the package, the legislation included $826 million for developing vaccines, treatments and tests for the coronavirus, and $300 million to purchase vaccines and treatments once they’re approved. It also includes $3.1 billion to buy medical supplies to expand the medical supplies and the Strategic National Stockpile, including $100 million for community health centers. The legislation also authorizes $490 million in mandatory spending by lifting constraints on Medicare’s payments for telehealth so beneficiaries can consult their doctors remotely, to help avoid hospitals and physicians' offices where they might risk exposure to the virus. Additionally, it includes $61 million to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for efforts to counter the virus as well as efforts to keep up with shortages in medical products and trying to boost U.S. manufacturing of those items.
ASA has continued to advocate for efforts to combat drug shortages, which have grown more persistent since 2014 and are now more pressing amid the nation’s current public health challenges. In recent years, drug shortages have been on the rise and continue to impact every aspect of the health care ecosystem. ASA applauds efforts to address this challenge, including the ASA-supported MEDS Act
For more information from ASA on the Coronavirus, please click here.