President Donald Trump announced on April 3 that the government will pay for the medical treatment of COVID-19 for uninsured Americans using funds from the stimulus package approved by Congress last month.
“This should alleviate any concern uninsured Americans may have about seeking the coronavirus treatment,” Trump said during a press briefing on April 3, adding that the move is “very much in the favor of our great people.”
Trump made the announcement as the United States experienced the worst day yet of the pandemic. New York state reported the highest daily death toll from COVID-19 for April 2, while other parts of the country confirmed an alarming number of cases.
Trump signed the largest stimulus bill in U.S. history on March 27, unlocking $2.2 trillion in funds to battle the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the coronavirus, and to support American workers and businesses as millions of people stay at home to help stop the spread of the disease.
Administration officials planned to fund the treatment with money from the $100 billion allocated to hospitals as part of the stimulus bill.
Vice President Mike Pence revealed that the administration is working on a plan to cover the uninsured on April 2.
“The president has made it clear: we don’t want any American to worry about the cost of getting a test or the cost of getting treatment,” Pence, the White House Coronavirus Task Force head, told reporters on Thursday night.
There are roughly 30 million Americans who do not have health insurance, Pence said.
A number of private insurance companies, including Blue Cross, Signa, Humana, and Anthem, have waived copays for the treatment of COVID-19.
“Copays, for them to do that, it’s a big statement,” Trump said.
Coverage under Medicaid and Medicare has also been expanded to include CCP virus testing and treatment as well as telehealth services. The Trump administration has also slashed regulations to give hospitals more flexibility to address the pandemic.
The United States had more than 273,000 cases of COVID-19 as of 6:40 p.m. on April 3, according to data by Johns Hopkins. The disease has claimed the lives of 7,077 people across the nation.
The federal government is racing to purchase and procure essential supplies and equipment, like face masks, medical gowns, and ventilators as hospitals in hot spots around the country project shortages.
Trump said he would invoke the Defense Production Act to prohibit the export of these items. The administration had earlier prohibited the hoarding of masks and other items.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.