Rep. Porter Leads Fight for Affordable Coronavirus Tests
Congresswoman calls on the Administration to ensure that lab tests for COVID-19 are affordable and accessible for patients
Washington, March 6, 2020
WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) led an effort with Reps. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14) to ensure cost is not a barrier for people getting tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The Congresswomen raised concerns to the Trump Administration that COVID-19 diagnostic testing and services aren’t affordable and accessible for patients, which will dissuade people from being tested, getting the care they need, and keeping themselves and their entire communities safe.
“If we’re going to successfully combat this emerging public health crisis, we need affordable testing, care, and treatment for patients,” said Congresswoman Porter. “When there are huge financial barriers to being tested, even for people with so-called ‘good insurance,’ people are less likely to come forward and do what is required to keep our community safe. Our families in Orange County deserve better.”
In a letter to Trump Administration officials sent yesterday, the Congresswomen applauded states like California that have already taken steps to require health insurance companies waive costs for in-network COVID-19 diagnostics testing. However, many labs that do this testing are out-of-network, and states lack authority over most employer-sponsored health plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which insure more than 153 million Americans and are overseen at the federal level.
The Congresswomen wrote in the letter, “Since the majority of patients who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms, we cannot expect patients to put their financial security at risk to get tested for COVID-19. Reducing costs to make this test more accessible will encourage individuals to go to the doctor to get this test, giving patients and providers the information needed to prevent community spread and protecting our most vulnerable populations.”
A copy of the full letter can be found here.