NEW YORK – More than four dozen organizations representing clinical laboratories, patients, and other healthcare stakeholders sent a letter to Congress Tuesday requesting additional federal funding for COVID-19 testing to reopen the US.
The letter was signed by a total of 49 organizations including the American Clinical Laboratory Association, AdvaMedDx, American College of Physicians, American Society for Microbiology, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and the National Consumers League. In the letter, stakeholders requested Congress prioritize allocating dedicated federal funding to expand access to COVID-19 testing for everyone regardless of insurance coverage or reason for receiving the test. As the country begins reopening schools, workplaces, and other activities, additional screening testing will be necessary to ensure the disease doesn't continue to spread, the stakeholders said.
The letter comes as Congress is currently working on a new coronavirus financial relief package. The US House of Representatives approved a $3 trillion aid package, but the Senate has yet to sign off on the deal amid disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, as well as bickering within the GOP about the details of a potential package.
"Without such funding, and with demand increasing, Americans will only see a reduction in access to testing, as well disruptions in clinician, hospital, and laboratory payments, diminished public health surveillance capacity, and higher insurance premiums," the stakeholders wrote. The letter is addressed to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky); the Senate majority leader; Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), the Democratic leader in the Senate; Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D-California), the Speaker of the House; and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), the minority leader in the House.
The letter also noted that clear coverage guidelines are necessary to ensure testing is performed and laboratories and other healthcare organizations are properly reimbursed.