March 17, 2020
Estimating the Cost of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
With the COVID-19 outbreak worsening in the United States and around the world, Congress is negotiating a deal on an additional emergency response package that is expected to cost $183.8 billion, according to estimates by AAF’s Labor Policy Data Analyst Isabel Soto and Director of Human Welfare Policy Tara O’Neill Hayes. If an important restriction on firm sizes were to be eliminated, the total cost would exceed $350 billion.
This package includes four key provisions:
- Emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave expansion, which could cost between $40.9 billion and $118.4 billion, and possibly up to $282.5 billion if restrictions on firm size were eliminated;
- Expanded Unemployment Insurance benefits, for which the government has allotted $1 billion;
- Increased Medicaid funding and free testing for everyone, with increased federal spending on Medicaid potentially increasing costs by $56.3 billion, and another $1.3 billion provided for health care services and testing costs; and
- Additional nutritional assistance, with $1.25 billion in additional funding provided for the Women, Infants, and Children program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, and programs to provide meals for the elderly, and loosened restrictions for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allowing for additional benefits at an estimated cost of $6.8 billion.