Senators Mark Warner, D-Va., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Doug Jones, D-Ala., participated in a press call to urge congressional leaders to focus on expanding and strengthening health care coverage for citizens across the country in any future legislation during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Warner said Congress should consider strengthening Medicaid, reopen the ACA marketplace and provide premium relief to those enrolled as well as provide COBRA assistance to those with employer-sponsored plans.
“We’ve seen in the last three to four weeks about 22 million Americans file for unemployment, five million literally this week,” said Warner.
The senators also spoke about what needs to be done to get through this health crisis such as a need for more quality testing and acknowledging the struggles the economy will face.
Shaheen said many residents in New Hampshire want to feel safe going back to work or to social gatherings when the economy eventually reopens.
“We have some good survey data in New Hampshire that suggests that people are not going to go back out if they don’t feel safe,” said Shaheen.
She added that there needs to be testing and it must be ubiquitous to help with this challenge many people across the country face.
Jones said there are many businesses that will fail in the process, so more people will be unemployed. He also emphasized the importance of having benefits in our health care system because of this while the country reopens the economy.
“As we sit here today in mid-April, we now know that this crisis is going to continue for some time, and hopefully not at the intensity that we’ve seen in the last few weeks. But opening America up, opening our individual states up is going to be a gradual process,” said Jones.
Warner was joined by Shaheen, Jones and 35 Democratic senators across the country in sending a letter to congressional leaders. The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.