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What We’re Seeing in the Phase 3 Package to Protect Americans’ Health (So Far)

March 20, 2020

On Thursday afternoon, Senator McConnell introduced the Republican proposal for a Phase 3 package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. While this package will change very soon due to ongoing negotiations (perhaps even as this is being sent!), we wanted to flag for you that the Senate’s new bill has three main components in the Medicare and health tax portion (Subtitle D):


It Boosts Investment in Hospitals:

    • Temporarily lift the Medicare sequester— which reduces payments to providers by 2 percent— from May 1 through December 31, 2020, boosting payments for hospital, physician, nursing home, home health, and other care


    • Pay 15 percent more for their treatment of COVID-19 patients

It Expands Access to Quality Care:

    • Remove provider restrictions on telehealth, such as a patient’s past relationship with a doctor, connecting folks on home dialysis with providers and allowing federally qualified health centers and rural health centers to participate


    • Expand access to nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants for home health services, which could help relieve our overburdened physicians


    • Support payments for durable medical equipment, which helps patients transition from hospital to home and remain in their home


    • Spur the antibiotic marketplace against resistant bacteria, which will help fight against the threat of infections

It Removes Limitations Employers and Individuals are Facing on Their HSA-eligible Plans:

    • Allow over-the-counter medicines to be purchased without a prescription


    • Give flexibility to allow for a more generous telehealth benefit


    • Connect folks with direct primary care arrangements


As mentioned THIS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE as this is only the beginning of negotiations. We will keep you apprised as things change.

Link here to the section-by-section of Subtitle D, courtesy of the Senate Finance Committee Republicans.

And of course, please continue to watch our rolling updates at, as well as our regularly updated FAQ on new Coronavirus Legislation.