A woman receives a coronavirus test from a van near Rockefeller Center in New York City on April 2. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
May 25 (UPI) -- The Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that it will spend an additional $4.8 billion so uninsured Americans will have more access to COVID-19 testing.
Money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan will go to pay for the additional testing.
"As we vaccinate the country, let's continue taking the preventive measures necessary to keep the virus under control and prevent it from spreading," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
"Testing remains critical and now it's available at no cost to those who need it."
COVID-19 tests given to nearly 30 million Americans without health insurance will be reimbursed under the plan.
Health providers had been reimbursed under previous stimulus plans, generally at Medicare rates. Almost $4 billion in testing reimbursements had been made as of last week.
The federal government has so far given more than $2.5 billion toward reimbursing providers for COVID-19 treatments and more than $85 million for vaccinating the uninsured.
Diana Espinosa, acting administrator for the Health Resources and Services Administration, said a return to normalcy in the United States depends on testing and vaccinating all Americans regardless of coverage.
"Focusing on the underserved and eliminating health access barriers for vulnerable communities is a core part of our mission," Espinosa said.
January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo