Feds Still Not Covering Virus Treatment, Testing After Trump Announcement

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

The White House used one of Trump's daily press briefings earlier this month to announce that both coronavirus testing and treatment would be covered by the federal government even for people who are uninsured, but is that actually happening?

The short is no.

Although the White House said uninsured Americans would be covered, that hasn't happened yet because the federal government has no system or plan in place to cover it.

Trump officials are still grappling with key questions about how exactly to implement the treatment fund, including how to determine if a patient qualifies for the new federal dollars, an administration source said. [...]

The administration also still hasn’t explained how the federal government will pay out a separate funding pot covering diagnostic testing for uninsured Americans. That funding was approved a month ago by Congress, about two weeks before the administration also promised to cover treatment for the uninsured.

“The thing that is totally missing is any explanation for patients,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a health law professor at George Washington University. “If you don’t have to worry about getting care because the hospital is supposed to care for you, and the hospital bills you, what then? There has been absolutely no communication to the public.”

Not only is there no "explanation for patients," there's also no explanation for health care providers and hospitals. Politico reports that some hospital systems are simply waiting to send bills to patients until they hear something from the federal government.

I'm sure this won't surprise you, but Politico also reports when when Trump personally made the announcement that no one would have to pay for coronavirus treatment or testing earlier this month, the plan had not been fully vetted or thought out yet.

In meantime, there are almost certainly thousands of Americans who sought testing or treatment for mild symptoms not knowing it would cost them thousands of dollars. You know, because the "president" went on national television and said it wouldn't cost them anything.