POLICY BRIEFINGS


Lawmakers Test Positive for COVID-19, Others Self-Quarantine


Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19, while other members of congress have made the decision to self-quarantine after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive. Those who have begun to self-quarantine include Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).


Defense Production Act Invoked for Manufacture of Ventilators


On Friday, President Trump announced that he will use the authority of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to compel General Motors to produce ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration had been in the midst of negotiations with the company in an attempt to avoid using the DPA powers, but later asserted that the automaker was moving too slowly and would charge too high a price to increase the nation’s supply of ventilators. The President’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, who has been named the national policy coordinator for the DPA, has said that the White House is also working with Ford and General Electric (GE) on ventilator production. In addition, over the weekend, the Pentagon’s logistics agency has modified an existing contract and will spend $84.4 million to buy 8,000 ventilators from four vendors, with delivery of an initial 1,400 by early May. The companies tapped to make the devices are Zoll Medical Corp., Combat Medical Systems LLC, Hamilton Medical Inc., and VyAire Medical Inc., according to a Defense Logistics Agency spokesman.


Policymakers Consider COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period


Democrats are calling on the administration to open a national special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, a decision that several states are already moving forward on. Re-opening enrollment would allow people to gain health insurance coverage prior to contracting the virus and getting sick. HHS has responded that it is evaluating the possibility of a Special Enrollment Period specifically designated for COVID-19.


President Backtracks on Tri-State Quarantine; Extends Social Distancing Guidelines


The President appears to be reconsidering the imposition of a quarantine for New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut to slow the spread of COVID-19. He had previously suggested the idea on Twitter on Saturday. He has instead directed the CDC to issue a travel advisory urging residents of the tri-state area to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days.

During a news briefing Sunday evening, the President announced that the U.S. will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30. The guidelines urge Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and advise older people to stay home. As of Sunday evening, there were more than 137,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States, and at least 2,400 people had died.


Former Sen. Tom Coburn, MD Dies at Age 72


Former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, MD passed away on Friday at the age of 72 from prostate cancer. The Republican lawmaker retired in 2014 after serving three terms in the House of Representatives and two terms in the Senate. During his time in Congress Coburn was known for taking strong stances in support of reducing the budget deficit. He graduated from University of Oklahoma Medical School in 1983 and did his family-practice residency at the University of Arkansas, delivering more than 4,000 babies over the course of his career in medicine.


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


S.3554 — A bill to provide assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD]; Committees: Senate - Small Business and Entrepreneurship

S.3559 — A bill to provide emergency financial assistance to rural health care facilities and providers impacted by the COVID-19 emergency; Sponsor: Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3564 — A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to require States to provide medical assistance for COVID-19 treatment services for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA]; Committees: Senate – Finance

H.Res.906 — Calling on the President to invoke the Defense Production Act to respond to COVID-19; Sponsor: Rep. Levin, Andy [D-MI-9]; Committees: House - Financial Services

H.R.6317 — To provide for special enrollment periods during public health emergencies, coverage of services related to public health emergencies, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX-35]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Education and Labor; Ways and Means

H.R.6324 — To amend the Small Business Act to provide no interest rate loans to small businesses and non-profit entities impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19), and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Pappas, Chris [D-NH-1]; Committees: House - Small Business

H.R.6331 — To require the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to establish a credit facility to provide loans to small businesses, including small family farms, during the COVID-19 emergency; Sponsor: Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3]; Committees: House - Financial Services

H.R.6333 — To establish a Small Business Financial Assistance Program to support small businesses during the COVID-19 emergency, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3]; Committees: House - Small Business; Financial Services

H.R.6336 — To amend title XI of the Social Security Act to provide for a waiver of payment reductions under the Medicare and Medicaid programs for certain nonapproved capital expenditures undertaken by health care facilities during the COVID-19 emergency; Sponsor: Rep. Bishop, Dan [R-NC-9]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.6338 — To waive high deductible health plan requirements for health savings accounts; Sponsor: Rep. Budd, Ted [R-NC-13]; Committees: House - Ways and Means

H.R.6341 — To establish a business stabilization guaranteed loan program and authority to establish a secondary market in the Small Business Administration, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Craig, Angie [D-MN-2]; Committees: House - Small Business

H.R.6342 — To amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to provide additional assistance for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Davids, Sharice [D-KS-3]; Committees: House - Small Business

H.R.6343 — To require the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to provide economic injury grants for small business concerns affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Espaillat, Adriano [D-NY-13]; Committees: House - Small Business



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