May 14, 2020
Health Provisions in the HEROES Act
In their proposed fourth coronavirus-response package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, House Democrats have included myriad health-related provisions. In his assessment of the bill, AAF’s Director of Health Care Policy Christopher Holt categorizes these proposals into two broad categories: expanded funding for existing programs, and new or notably altered programs. Because of the staggering breath of policy items included in HEROES, it does not clearly establish House Democrats’ priorities in any future legislative negotiation with the Senate and White House, Holt concludes.
His main points:
- HEROES would respond to the problem of the newly uninsured by, among other things, having the federal government cover 100 percent of the premium for COBRA benefits and increasing the federal share of Medicaid expenditures by what the American Action Forum estimates to be $45.2 billion over and above previous COVID-19 response legislation; and
- HEROES also includes substantial new funding for many existing programs and agencies, expands mandates for coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment, and undertakes a number of reforms to the nation’s medical supply chain, while also pressing for a more robust national testing regime.