WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA) and other Senate Democrats to introduce legislation that would ensure free tests to confirm coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
“Ohioans concerned about their health and the health of others shouldn’t have to worry about the cost of getting tested for coronavirus,” Brown said. “Removing cost barriers will help more Americans get tested and help slow the spread of the virus.”
The Free COVID-19 Testing Act introduced this week would waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services for individuals enrolled in private health plans, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA as well as for federal civilians, American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Private insurers would be barred from imposing limits like prior authorization for testing. For uninsured individuals, this legislation would cover the cost of lab fees, and states would have the option and new incentives to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services through their Medicaid programs.
Text of the Free COVID-19 Testing Act is here.
Earlier this month, Brown helped pass a $8.3 billion Supplemental Coronavirus Spending Bill that President Trump signed into law that includes at least $15.6 million in immediate funding to help Ohio prepare for the coronavirus.
Brown worked with his colleagues to ensure Ohio and local communities around the state have the funding they need to prevent and manage any potential cases of the coronavirus. The final package includes $8.3 billion in total funding, with $7.8 billion for immediate help to combat the coronavirus, and an additional $500 million authorization to enhance telehealth services.
Last week, Brown also introduced new, emergency paid sick days legislation, the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal Family Care Act, to provide paid sick days immediately to Ohio workers in light of the coronavirus crisis, and in preparation for future public health emergencies.
The bill requires all employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick days and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis.