Schakowsky Introduces Bicameral, Bipartisan Legislative Package to Address COVID-19 Impacts

February 5, 2021
Press Release
Legislation Addresses Nursing Homes, Privacy of Medical Data, Scams and More

WASHINGTON - Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, announced the introduction of a package of legislation to address serious problems that have emerged during the COVID-19 crisis.

“This bipartisan, bicameral package addresses serious challenges revealed by this pandemic. The issues addressed range from the protection of nursing home residents and staff; to ensuring the privacy of patient data; and confronting scammers who have taken advantage,” said Schakowsky. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and our leadership to see these solutions put into law.”

The legislative package is comprised of seven bills, each with a variety of co-sponsors and supporters:

  • Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents and Workers During COVID-19 Act of 2021 – (H.R. 598) -  Establishes several requirements for Medicare skilled nursing facilities and Medicaid nursing facilities to have minimum staffing levels, training for nurses, and protections for whistleblowers and residents. The bill also requires specific consent procedures for the administration of certain psychotropic drugs and prohibits the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements in such facilities. The bill also funds the establishment of strike teams to be deployed to long-term care facilities that have three or more COVID-19 diagnoses to prevent further spread. Introduced with Representative Mark Takano (D-CA)
  • Pandemic Treatment Access and Affordability Act of 2021 – (H.R. 597) - This legislation would ensure that medical drugs and treatments developed with Federal research dollars to address COVID-19 remain affordable and accessible to all people. Introduced with Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
  • COVID-19 Justice and Accountability Act of 2021 – (H.R. 595) This bill allows Americans to sue in certain cases relating to COVID-19 and suspends certain arbitration agreements and joint-action waivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Specifically, individuals may bring lawsuits for harm suffered because of a violation of, or a failure to comply with, the COVID-19 relief packages passed by Congress. Introduced with Representatives Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) and Mark Takano (D-CA)
  • COVID-19 Price Gouging Prevention Act of 2021 – (H.R. 675) -This bill makes it unlawful to unreasonably raise prices on goods or services during a public health emergency resulting from COVID-19. Introduced with Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and David Cicilline (D-RI)
  • Public Health Emergency Privacy Act of 2021 – (H.R. 651) -  This legislation is aimed at preventing the misuse of data gathered during a public health emergency. It would ensure that data collected for public health is strictly limited for use in public health. Prohibits the use of health data for discriminatory or intrusive purposes, including commercial advertising, e-commerce, or efforts to restrict access to employment, finance, insurance, housing, or education opportunities. Introduced with Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and in the Senate by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mark Warner (D-VA)
  • Advancing Connectivity during the Coronavirus to Ensure Support for Seniors Act of 2021 (ACCESS Act) – (H.R. 596) - This bill provides appropriations to develop telehealth capacity for nursing facilities and directs other activities to increase access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency, to support virtual visits to residents during the emergency. Introduced with Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
  • Pandemic Manufacturing Act of 2021 – (H.R. 728) This bill establishes the Emergency Office of Manufacturing for Public Health within HHS to ensure an adequate supply of, and increased access to, prescription drugs, vaccines, biological products, devices and other supplies, including PPE – to treat and mitigate harm caused by COVID-19. Introduced with a Senate companion bill with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)