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The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on US policies on health and healthcare, exposing many flaws and chasms. On the positive side, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which requires all private insurers, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid to cover COVID-19 testing and eliminate all cost-sharing associated with testing services during the pandemic, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which requires all private plans to cover COVID-19 testing and future vaccines. However, these two acts provide little to no coverage of cost-sharing expenses associated with treatment of COVID-19. Additional policies are needed to enable Americans to continue to have access to affordable care as this crisis evolves.
The author advocates that policymakers should freeze peoples' insurance status as of April 1, 2020, secure coverage for those who have lost jobs by expanding access to ACA marketplace plans and Medicaid, and continue to address out-of-pocket expenses such as cost-sharing and surprise medical billing. She further advocates federal intervention to strike down the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which prohibits state laws governing health insurance from applying to self-insured employer plans. Never before has the need for substantial reform to ensure affordable healthcare for all Americans been so starkly obvious, and we should not let the lessons of this crisis pass us by.
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for health care reforms that promote universal access to affordable care. Although all aspects of U.S. health care will face incredible challenges in the coming months, the patchwork way we govern and pay for health care is unraveling in this time of crisis, leaving millions of people vulnerable and requiring swift, coordinated political action to ensure access to affordable care.