Ten Republican senators today released highlights from their $618 billion COVID-19 relief proposal, outlined Sunday in a letter to President Biden. The proposal includes $35 billion for the Provider Relief Fund, with 20% set aside for rural hospitals; $20 billion for vaccine efforts; and $50 billion for testing, among other provisions.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Todd Young, R-Ind., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., are expected to discuss the proposal with Biden at a meeting this afternoon.
In a statement, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “The AHA applauds the release today of the COVID-19 relief proposal from the group of 10 Republican senators. Included in today’s proposal is crucial funding for testing, vaccine distribution and administration and the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). The inclusion of additional support for the PRF, which is similar to a proposal from a bi-partisan working group last year, is of critical importance to America’s hospitals and health systems and our heroic front-line caregivers as they continue to fight the ongoing pandemic and care for their patients and communities.
“As our nation accelerates the effort to vaccinate the country and reach herd immunity while also being on guard against new variants of the virus, many hospitals and health systems, in addition to caring for the sick, have increased their responsibility to their patients and communities by playing an important role in vaccination efforts. The replenishing of the PRF will help ensure that we can provide the infrastructure and human resources for this giant effort.”
On Jan. 14, Biden unveiled plans for a roughly $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes a number of provisions that affect hospitals and health systems. For more on the Biden proposal, see the recent AHA statement.