Democratic legislators introduce legislation addressing coronavirus issues

The Michigan State Capitol building (Photo: capitol.michigan.gov)


Posted Thursday, March 12, 2020

State Reps Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown), Cara Clemente (D-Lincoln Park), and Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) today introduced legislation addressing several key issues surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on Michigan. 

“As legislators, we need to work with our institutions to provide them the tools they need to minimize the risk for Michigan residents,” said Hammoud. “This bill package establishes a dedicated plan to help address several aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has begun to take root in our country and state. It is vital that we implement all necessary protections to ensure that those in need of medical services are not deterred by cost, that cases are accurately reported to the state, and that people aren’t forced to go to work following exposure over fear of losing out on a paycheck.” 

Following news of two confirmed cases in Michigan and announcements from many colleges and universities across the state that they are switching to online-only classes until mid-April, these bills would take critical steps toward increasing public safety and protecting all Michiganders. 

“With an issue as serious as coronavirus, the last thing we want to see is people skipping testing or lifesaving treatment because of cost,” said Camilleri, who sponsored a bill to eliminate private insurance co-pays for testing, treatment, and other COVID-19-related costs. “At this critical moment, I believe we have a duty as a state to provide care to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay.”

Among other actions, this package would allow for the creation of a pandemic outbreak fund, remove cost barriers to testing, treatment, and other COVID-19 costs, and urge Congress to provide Michigan with increased support in this time of uncertainty.

“In my second term as a legislator, I have learned firsthand the importance of proactivity when working to resolve urgent matters,” said Clemente. “No more should this principle apply than in the space of public health. My legislation would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide all government entities in the state with a pandemic preparedness plan to help mitigate the spread and effects of disease within our communities. Access to accurate information, a concise strategy, and resources ahead of time is crucial to protecting our state’s residents now and in the future.” 

Following Governor Whitmer’s declaration of a state of emergency, this package builds upon decisive actions already being taken at the state level and would streamline the response process not only for COVID-19 but for future public health concerns as well.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of all Michiganders,” said Manoogian. “As we continue to monitor the situation, the proactive approach taken by these bills will save lives and keep our communities safe and healthy.”

A brief description of each bill in the package can be found below:

·      House Bill 5629: Would require DHHS, in coordination with local health departments, to develop a model pandemic preparedness plan to assist governmental entities (Rep. Clemente) 

·      House Bill 5630: Would establish coronavirus reporting requirements, definitions, and coverage of the uninsured (Rep. Hammoud) 

·      House Bill 5631: Creates the pandemic outbreak fund, which would be dedicated to addressing costs and acting as a reinsurance to help cover wage loss (Rep. Hammoud) 

·      House Bill 5632: Would require Medicaid coverage, at no out-of-pocket expense, of costs associated with the coronavirus, including treatment and testing, wage loss, medications, vaccines, and hand sanitizer and face masks (Rep. Hammoud) 

·      House Bill 5633: Would require private insurance coverage, at no out-of-pocket expense, of costs associated with the coronavirus, including treatment and testing, medications, vaccines, and hand sanitizer and face masks (Rep. Camilleri) 

·      House Resolution 242: Urges Congress and the Center for Disease Control to provide financial support to our state to assist us in combating the coronavirus (Rep. Manoogian) 


 

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