On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the U.S. Senate unanimously adopted a $2 trillion bipartisan agreement to address the needs of the American people and health care providers confronting the coronavirus pandemic. The House is expected to pass it on Friday. It is the biggest economic rescue package in U.S. history. CMA aggressively advocated for additional financial assistance for physician practices, and increased funding for public health and the production of personal protective equipment.
(Organized medicine also stopped attempts to include a ban on surprise medical billing that favored insurers over physicians and patients. That issue has been deferred to the lame duck session of Congress in December 2020.)
This comprehensive package provides new resources to address all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- More than $150 billion to help strained state governments combat the pandemic;
- $100 billion in direct funding for hospitals and physicians on the front lines;
- 2% Medicare physician payment increase;
- $377 billion in support to small businesses, including low-interest and forgivable loans and grants for small businesses (less than 500 employees), including physician practices;
- Tax credits and assistance for small businesses and physician practices;
- Additional telehealth funding and coverage;
- Funding to spur the production and distribution of more personal protective equipment, medical equipment, testing kits and related supplies;
- Support for law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders;
- Funding for public health and scientific research for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines;
- Support for both small businesses and large industries impacted by the crisis;
- Assistance for schools and universities and at-home learning technology; and
- Funding for social services including nutrition programs, more childcare, affordable housing and programs that assist the homeless.
For more details, see CMA’s COVID-19 Federal Stimulus Summary.