WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, along with 11 Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee today called on the Trump administration to distribute the remaining critical COVID-19 aid to health care providers in an equitable and transparent way. In the letter, sent to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, the senators also noted the distribution of the first $30 billion dollars failed to deliver funds to 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,” the senators wrote. “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.”
The senators outlined two key priorities they are urging the Trump administration to adhere to when it distributes the remaining funds. First, that they provide complete, appropriate and immediate transparency. That means 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.
The letter was also signed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bob Menendez, (D-N.J.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), 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 full letter can be found here.