President and CEO
American Hospital Association
April 3, 2020
Nobody has been a stronger advocate for covering the uninsured than America’s hospitals and health systems, particularly during a public health emergency. That’s why we have encouraged the Administration to look at various options to provide coverage for treatment of the uninsured for the Coronavirus other than utilizing the emergency fund from the CARES Act. This could include opening up a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, expanding Medicaid and using the National Disaster Medical System or other federal emergency programs, among other ideas. Hospitals and health systems also support the proposals from members of Congress for a new, separate fund to specifically address the costs associated with treatment of the uninsured.
The emergency relief fund in the CARES Act was intended to provide hospitals with an infusion of emergency relief as providers incur substantial expenses in preparing and dealing with fighting this battle against COVID-19. At the same time, given that virtually all regular operations have come to a halt--such as elective or scheduled procedures--there are limited revenues coming in, causing major cash flow concerns that threaten the viability of hospitals. This is also creating a historic financial crisis, threatening the ability to keep our doors open for both the insured and uninsured alike.
Because hospitals and health systems, and our dedicated caregivers, are on the front lines of this pandemic, we continue to urge the release of the CARES Act emergency relief funds as soon as possible. This critical funding will help ensure that our health care providers can continue to be there for everyone and have the support and resources that are needed to deliver care to their patients and communities.