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The Trump administration announced Friday that doctors and hospitals can use federal aid to cover treatment costs for the uninsured who are suffering from COVID-19.
The federal payments, which are part of a $ 100 billion package of assistance to health care providers, will specifically cover COVID-19 care. But some health policy experts say the program will be difficult to administer, as it is sometimes impossible to separate the cost of treatment for COVID-19 from the cost of treatment for a patient’s other health conditions, such as insufficiency kidney.
Millions of people who have lost their jobs in recent weeks are also at risk of losing their health insurance. Democrats have called on the Trump administration to open a special registration period for these people to purchase health coverage under Obamacare.
Instead, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, said that health care providers will be reimbursed for COVID-19 care “at Medicare rates”, and will be prohibited from charging patients for services directly on top of that.
Sabrina Corlette, co-director of the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University, said the new plan raises a host of unanswered questions because it won’t always be clear whether an individual’s problems, whether it’s pneumonia or kidney failure, are caused by a coronavirus infection.
“Who would be eligible for this program? ” she asked. “For what services? Who would be the judge of your qualification? “
Corlette added that it would be much simpler and easier to simply open a period to purchase insurance plans in the Affordable Care Act markets.
“It’s like they are twisting pretzels to avoid anything that tastes like Obamacare,” she said.