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The Trump administration unveiled the specifics of a $100 billion plan to support the health care system during the coronavirus pandemic and ensure that uninsured patients will be covered by giving hospitals and doctors direct payments from the government.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday in his announcement that $20 billion will be doled out to health care facilities across the country and another $10 billion will be focused on rural health clinics and hospitals. Indian Health Service facilities will receive $400 million and coronavirus hotspots that have carried the brunt of the cases will get $10 billion in relief. New York, for example, the hardest-hit state in the country, will be allocated $4.4 billion.
“Our goal in all of the decisions we’re making is to get the money from the Provider Relief Fund out the door as quickly as possible while targeting it to those suffering the most from the pandemic,” Azar said in a statement.
The much-needed funding is the second round of payments to health care providers — tacking on to the $30 billion already distributed — to support doctors and hospitals that are suffering economic losses due to shelved elective procedures as the uptick of coronavirus cases required more immediate attention.
Doctors and hospitals will be required to submit patients’ bills to the government directly and in return will be paid at Medicare rates.
The plan bears in mind the hurdles of severely impacted immigrant communities who are hesitant to seek care and do not obligate providers to ask for a patient’s immigration status.
Still, Democrats say the funds are not enough. Lawmakers are nailing down the specifics of another relief package to introduce an additional $75 billion to augment the health care system.