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Reps. Kind, Barragán, and Trahan Introduce Legislation to Ensure Free Coronavirus Testing for Seniors

March 12, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC—This morning, Reps. Ron Kind (WI-03), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), and Lori Trahan (MA-03) introduced legislation that will make testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) free for seniors who receive coverage through Medicare Advantage.

“Health care costs should not have to be a factor when it comes to Wisconsinites staying safe and healthy during this outbreak,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “In order to combat the spread of COVID-19, it’s crucial that Wisconsinites—and especially seniors who are particularly at risk—have access to testing without having to worry about the ability to pay. Requiring Medicare Advantage to waive testing fees is a commonsense way to give seniors one less thing to worry about at this time.”

“The COVID-19 outbreak is a public health emergency affecting all of us, but our seniors are most at risk.  Seniors who go to the doctor concerned about their exposure to this virus should not have to worry about the costs of being tested,” said Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán. “Our bill will make sure these tests are covered by Medicare Advantage at no cost to the patient.”

“As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, families need our help now more than ever to help cope with the impact. Being able to get tested for the coronavirus is a crucial aspect of mitigating the threat posed by this virus, and keeping people – especially seniors and other vulnerable populations – healthy. Mandating coverage of coronavirus testing in Medicare Advantage is a necessary step to protect the public at large. I urge swift action on this bill,” said Rep. Lori Trahan.

This legislation will be included in a larger package as part of the House of Representatives’ efforts to bolster the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and address the severe impacts of the coronavirus on Americans’ safety and financial security. This package follows the $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package signed into law last week. That package included support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and loans for affected small businesses to lessen the economic blow of this public health emergency.