WASHINGTON (AP) – The government of President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday a plan to start paying hospitals and doctors who care for uninsured COVID-19 patients.
Under the strategy outlined by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, hospitals and doctors will present their bills directly to the government and will be paid with Medicare tabs.
Uninsured people won’t have to bear the costs, and healthcare providers won’t have to ask questions about a patient’s immigration status, an issue that has been cited as a barrier to health care in communities with many born residents. abroad.
“This says that if you don’t have insurance, go see them, we will cover you,” said Azar in an interview.
The funds will come out of a $ 100 billion package that Congress has approved to offer relief to the healthcare system, which is trying to cope with the high cost of coronavirus care while going through financial hardship because elective procedures and surgeries have been discontinued. COVID-19 patients with health insurance, hospitals, and doctors who accept money from the relief fund will agree not to send “surprise” bills for out-of-network services.
Treatment for COVID-19 for uninsured patients will cost between $ 14 billion and $ 48 billion, according to a recent estimate by the non-partisan body Kaiser Family Foundation.
Azar said the government will not give an estimate of how much his plan will cost, but that he is confident that the $ 100 billion allocated by Congress will be enough to cover it. Lawmakers are detailing another aid package that is expected to add another $ 75 billion to the health system.