March 26, 2020
Analyzing the Health Provisions in the CARES Act
While it contained myriad provisions intended to stabilize the broader economy, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act that the Senate passed yesterday also includes numerous health-related provisions. These actions fall broadly into three buckets, AAF’s Director of Health Care Policy Christopher Holt writes: those directly related to the current pandemic; those indirectly related to the current pandemic or aimed at future preparedness; and those that are almost entirely unrelated to the current pandemic.
The primary aim of the CARES Act’s health policy provisions is to immediately bolster the financial and equipment resources available to health professionals as they work to stem the ongoing public health crisis in the United States. To that end, the legislation allocates substantial amounts of money, but the bill does not provide detail on how much of those funds will be distributed, raising questions about how quickly HHS will be able to push out the funding.
Additionally, like most exercises in crisis legislating, CARES contains a broad assortment of provisions that are either only indirectly related to COVID-19 or entirely extraneous. Fortunately, though some provisions likely did not merit inclusion in this package, Congress does not appear to have taken advantage of this fast-moving emergency response to include any health policies that are especially egregious.