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“While many parts of the country await the arrival of the omicron variant, New York already has cases, but that doesn’t mean we need to panic. That means we should be planning, ”Schumer said in a Dec. 5 statement.
According to the New York Democrat, the free self-test will be “the key” to testing the new variant, as the new contagious strain has been detected in eight residents of the state – seven in New York and one on Long Island – Saturday. , December 4.
“You see, a key to controlling Omicron is the home test, where you can swab your nose, take simple steps, determine if you have COVID, and take the right action afterward,” the pol said. “Right now, home testing is pretty affordable across the country, but it’s not free, but it should be. “
Currently, two-pack over-the-counter self-test kits cost around $ 15 to $ 30.
The senator said the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should use money from the US $ 350 billion bailout law enacted by President Joe Biden in March, which affected funds specifically to support COVID-19 testing.
The HHS is expected to send the self-swab kits to more than 70 federally-funded New York City community health centers for distribution to New Yorkers free of charge at the point of service.
The White House announced Thursday that private health insurers will have to reimburse patients for self-test kits starting in the new year and that the federal government will make around 50 million of them available to the uninsured.
But that means insured Americans will have to contact their insurance companies to get the money back, unlike other countries where governments bought the tests directly and provided them at low cost or free to encourage more testing.