Rep. Schrier Statement on House Passage of Coronavirus Funding Package

March 4, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) released the following statement after the House passed a spending package that will address the coronavirus and protect Americans:

“Washington state and King County in particular have been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak here in the United States. I have spoken to several public health officials and hospitals to assess their immediate and long-term needs. This spending package will provide financial resources as they continue to be on the front lines to the response of the coronavirus.

The $8.3 billion bill provides $950 million to support state & local health agencies, like King County and the Washington State Department of Health. It also includes $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. We are still more than a year away from a vaccine being widely available, but this funding will ensure the process moves as swiftly and safely as possible.

I am happy that this bill includes my proposed fix that will allow seniors on Medicare to access telemedicine resources. This is critical. Just yesterday I spoke with hospital officials who reported that this was an urgent need. We already know that the group of people most adversely affected by coronavirus is the elderly. If they can receive care without going into a medical facility, then that will help slow the spread of this disease, protect the seniors, and protect health care providers.

In addition to voting for this spending package today, I led most of the Washington delegation in sending a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requesting that they adopt the infection prevention measures recommended by the World Health Organization. This would alleviate equipment shortages without compromising safety. Hospitals are already at near-capacity and will likely be at full capacity in the next few days. The continued use of unnecessarily stringent CDC guidelines would present substantial barriers to managing the increased patient demand. These facilities are anticipating imminent staff shortages under current guidance. We need to ensure the safety of our frontline healthcare staff while balancing the needs of our healthcare system and patients.

This situation is going to get worse before it gets better. And the risk to the general public is increasing. The federal funding passed today by the House will be welcome news to the public health officials and health care providers in Washington state. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure they have the equipment and assistance they need.”