29 Patient Organizations Urge Lawmakers to Take Bold, Immediate Action to Protect Those Most Vulnerable to COVID-19

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Organizations representing millions of patients diagnosed with serious health conditions urge the U.S. Senate to immediately pass the U.S. House-approved coronavirus bill and take additional critical steps.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the organizations emphasize the importance of enacting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201).

Public health experts warn that patients with serious, chronic conditions face heightened risk of sickness and death if infected with the novel coronavirus. For these patients, assurances that the vast majority of healthy adults will survive infection provide little comfort. It's absolutely critical that lawmakers act with urgency to protect our nation's most vulnerable.

H.R. 6201 contains important provisions that expand the ability of patients to get tested for COVID-19 and encourage "social distancing" that could reduce transmission. These steps include:

  • Extending no-cost coronavirus testing to all patients, regardless of insurance type or status.
  • Increasing federal support for Medicaid spending to ease financial strain on state budgets during this crisis.
  • Providing opportunities for paid time off to allow some symptomatic workers to stay home without suffering financially.
  • Suspending work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in order to facilitate social distancing and reflect economic realities during this crisis.

Separately, patient organizations urge lawmakers to quickly take these additional, vital steps in subsequent legislation:

  • Ensure patients have access to COVID-19 treatment at no or low out-of-pocket costs.
  • Expand the number of workers eligible for paid and protected leave during the pandemic.
  • Promote health coverage through expedited Medicaid enrollment and initiate a special open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act exchange coverage.
  • Expand the availability of telemedicine services for those without COVID-19 symptoms to facilitate social distancing and prevent disruption of necessary care.
  • Require all health insurers to allow patients to follow CDC recommendations and obtain backup supplies of essential medicines and medical products.

Patient organizations also urge the administration to immediately repeal the block grant policy issued on January 30, 2020 which encourages states to cap their Medicaid spending. Any state that enacts these caps risks serious financial limitations that could prevent it from effectively addressing this pandemic.

Patients with chronic health conditions are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. With the number of reported infections increasingly daily, lawmakers must take these steps immediately. If they don't, the nation may lose valuable time that could have saved lives.


Adult Congenital Heart Association

ALS Association

American Cancer Society Cancer Action

American Diabetes Association

American Kidney Fund

American Liver Foundation

American Lung Association

Arthritis Foundation

Chronic Disease Coalition

COPD Foundation

Epilepsy Foundation

Family Voices

Hemophilia Federation of America

Immune Deficiency Foundation

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Lutheran Services of America

March of Dimes

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship

National Health Council

National Hemophilia Foundation

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Patient Advocate Foundation

National Psoriasis Foundation

Susan G. Komen

United Way Worldwide

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for
Women with Heart Disease


Media Contact:
Ryan Holeywell, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/29-patient-organizations-urge-lawmakers-to-take-bold-immediate-action-to-protect-those-most-vulnerable-to-covid-19-301025135.html

SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

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