Mar 31, 2020 - Health

Nancy Pelosi to headline virtual coronavirus town hall

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks to the press after the House passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill
Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will headline a virtual town hall on Facebook Tuesday that will highlight the Trump administration's "failures" in responding to the coronavirus pandemic and outline a series of new health priorities that Democrats say are needed to stem the spread of COVID-19, advocacy group Health Care Voter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Discussions on the phase 4 stimulus bill are already underway now that the $2.2 trillion rescue package has been signed into law. Several Democrats, including Pelosi, who are participating in Tuesday evening's town hall, see the legislation as an opportunity to pass new health and economic policies that failed to make it into the last deal, Democratic aides on Capitol Hill tell Axios.

  • A top priority for many lawmakers is addressing broader health care concerns that Democrats have pushed for months, including increasing subsidies on the individual market and creating new incentives for states to expand Medicaid, the aides say.
  • Some of these ideas were included in Pelosi's $2.5 trillion counterproposal to the GOP stimulus bill, but didn't make it into the final legislation.
  • And in an interview with the New York Times on Monday, Pelosi suggested that the phase 4 deal might also be an appropriate place to roll back limits on the state and local tax deduction.

Details: Health Care Voter's Our Lives on the Line town hall series launches Tuesday night and features members of Congress, governors, local elected officials and medical professionals.

  • The attendees include Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry, Center for American Progress managing director of health policy Maura Calsyn and MomsRising executive director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, among others.

What they're saying: "The coronavirus crisis has exposed fundamental failures in our health care system. Before this crisis began, people were struggling with the skyrocketing prescription drug prices and worrying about maintaining their insurance coverage as Republican politicians worked to gut the Affordable Care Act," Health Care Voter campaign director Rosemary Enobakhare tells Axios.

  • "The coronavirus pandemic, and the Trump administration's failure to manage it, has clarified what's at stake. We need to make sure that our health care system emerges from this crisis stronger."
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