March 13, 2020

Van Hollen, Smith Introduce Bill to Ensure Free Coronavirus Testing for All Americans

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has joined Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) along with a number of their Democratic Senate colleagues in introducing the Free COVID-19 Testing Act, which would expand free tests to confirm coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
The Free COVID-19 Testing Act 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.

Senator Van Hollen has also helped introduce legislation that would protect quarantined workers from employer retaliationlegislation that would provide emergency paid sick leave to affected workers, and legislation that would expand telework opportunities for federal employees.

In addition to Senators Van Hollen and Smith, this legislation is also supported by Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Angus King (I-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

The full text of the bill is available here.