July 31, 2023

In Response to Senators Van Hollen, Warren, Duckworth, Blumenthal, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Agrees to Convene Meeting on COVID-19 Testing Recommendation

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released a letter from United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Chair Michael Barry, in which the Task Force agreed to convene to discuss recommending COVID-19 testing as a preventive screening tool.

In his letter responding to the lawmakers’ June 2023 request, Chair Barry committed to “convening the full Task Force to discuss this issue and determine whether and how COVID-19 screening might be considered within the Task Force’s scope.” He added that “the Task Force cares deeply about improving the health of people nationwide” and that they “are exploring how testing for COVID-19 might fit within parameters” that govern the Task Force’s work. 

“We have beaten the worst of COVID-19, but access to testing is key to keeping everyone safe,” said Senator Van Hollen. “And for those Americans working to make ends meet, it’s critical that COVID testing is an insurance-covered cost. That’s why I’m glad to see USPSTF take this decision under consideration and will continue pushing for this necessary determination.”

“The need for affordable access to COVID-19 testing has not gone away with the end of the public health emergency,” said Senator Warren. “I thank the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for convening this meeting, and I look forward to working together to ensure patients can continue to access COVID-19 tests without copays.”

“Designating COVID-19 testing as a preventative tool will ensure the service remains affordable and accessible for patients,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “I’m encouraged by the Preventative Services Task Force meeting and hope it leads to action that will help us prevent cases and transmission.” 

Full text of the lawmakers’ letter can be found here.

Full text of USPSTF’s response can be found here.