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U.S. to spend $4.8 billion to cover COVID-19 tests for uninsured Americans

By
Don Johnson
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
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.

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"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.

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"Focusing on the underserved and eliminating health access barriers for vulnerable communities is a core part of our mission," Espinosa said.

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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

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