In New Letter, Senators Outline Priorities for $70 Billion in the CARES Act Health Care Provider Fund
Denver – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet along with his Democratic colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee called on the Trump Administration to distribute the remaining funding designated for health care providers in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in an equitable and transparent way. In the letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, Bennet and the senators also noted the distribution of the first $30 billion dollars failed to deliver funds to places where they are needed most.
“While we appreciate your efforts to distribute the first $30 billion of these funds based on fiscal year 2019 Medicare fee-for-service claims data, the Administration failed to deliver much needed relief to many essential providers across the country due to this approach,” wrote Bennet and the senators. “We continue to hear from providers in each of our states including children’s hospitals, hospice organizations, hospitals in rural and underserved urban areas, physicians, nursing homes, residential care and senior living communities, behavioral health care providers, community health centers, home health agencies and direct service providers, and other front line providers that need additional financial support immediately to ensure they make it through this crisis.”
Bennet and his colleagues outlined two key priorities they are urging the Trump Administration to adhere to when it distributes the remaining funds. First, the senators request that the administration provides complete, appropriate, and immediate transparency. There should be a detailed and public account of where all the dollars have gone, as well as a thorough explanation of the criteria used to determine which providers receive funds.
The second priority is to ensure the equitable distribution of funds, meaning the dollars should go where they are needed most. Future distributions should account for the imbalanced allocation of the first $30 billion, ensure that all providers receive the resources they need, and avoid penalizing states for their efforts to expand qualified, comprehensive health coverage.
In addition to Bennet, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.).
The text of the letter is available HERE.