Phase III: Strong Economic Action to Stave COVID-19
- Congress and the Administration are set to begin negotiations on a “phase three” package aimed at securing our economy as communities work to fight the novel coronavirus.
- Secretary Mnuchin is aiming to have four key parts be included in this package:
- Support for parts of the economy that are seeing the greatest economic and financial loss;
- Stabilization of the money market mutual fund industry;
- Cash for workers and families; and
- More help for Main Street businesses.
The federal government has acted swiftly to help Americans impacted by the coronavirus. The first package, which has been signed into law, contained $8.3 billion to increase the availability of tests, support public and private efforts toward developing a vaccine, and assistance for small businesses. The second package, passed in the House and now being considered in the Senate, ensured free testing, emergency paid leave, and support and flexibility for small businesses.
This phase three package is further assistance for our economy. The Administration is seeking secured funds for industries that are taking a substantial hit due to this pandemic, such as airlines. They also want to provide cash assistance to all Americans, with the amount being dependent on income level and family size. And they want to create a loan program for small businesses who are offering paid leave to their workers at this time.
You can find the Senate’s section by section analysis here:
What Medicare and health tax provisions are included in the CARES Act?
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 for the remainder of the public health emergency.
- 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 for the remainder of the public health emergency.
- 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 starting this year.
- Give flexibility to allow for a more generous telehealth benefit for 2020 and 2021.
- Connect folks with direct primary care arrangements starting this year.