Schakowsky, Bucshon Introduce First Bipartisan Bills to Ensure Free Preventive Care for Coronavirus Diagnosis and Treatment

March 12, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, and Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) introduced two pieces of bipartisan legislation, the Ensuring Affordable COVID-19 Preventive Care Act of 2020 and the Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Preventive Care Act of 2020, to ensure that everyone in the United States who needs to be tested or treated for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can get their test, services, or therapeutics covered by their insurance without any cost sharing. 

“We must do everything in our power to contain the coronavirus in the United States and mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable among us. I’m proud to introduce two bipartisan bills with Congressman Bucshon that will eliminate all co-pays or cost sharing for drugs, equipment, services, and immunizations relating to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Ultimately, we must ensure every person—insured or uninsured—can be tested, treated, and eventually vaccinated for the coronavirus for free. But as a first step, the Congress must act to pass these bills as soon as possible.”

“With coronavirus spreading across America, health experts and scientists are working diligently to test patients and find a vaccine. It is important that the potential cost burden of diagnostic tests, and eventual vaccine, do not hinder patients from seeking proper and preventative medical attention. Through an expedited process, we can ensure patients are treated and covered by their insurance without cost-sharing requirements,” said Congressman Bucshon.

Ensuring Affordable COVID-19 Preventive Care Act of 2020

  • The bill mandates that all health insurers must cover—without cost sharing—all diagnostic tests, drugs, services, and immunizations related to the diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 no later than 15 days after the United States Preventative Service Task Force (USPSTF) or Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) provides a positive coverage recommendation.

Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Preventive Care Act of 2020 

  • The bill states that ACIP must meet and provide a recommendation no later than 15 days after a vaccine is licensed under the Public Health Service Act. If ACIP provides a positive recommendation, then health plans must cover the vaccine without cost-sharing requirements.
  • The bill will ensure that diagnostic tests are available for patients by providing the Health and Human Services Secretary the authority to waive cost-sharing requirements for such test for the duration of the public health emergency or until the USPSTF provides a positive coverage recommendation. 

Americans need a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep us safe from the coronavirus epidemic.  We cannot fight coronavirus effectively unless everyone in our country who needs to be tested knows they can get their test free of charge. The House is taking the next step to combat this crisis by working to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act – which is focused directly on providing support for America’s families, who must be our first priority in this emergency. Congresswoman Schakowsky is hopeful that provisions based on these bills will be incorporated into the package.