Why COVID care will likely get harder to access
The discontinuation of the federal program that makes free COVID care available to uninsured Americans means that they're likely to have a lot more difficulty accessing pandemic care, according to a new KFF brief.
- Higher costs for many covered Americans are likely right around the corner, too.
Why it matters: If patients are on the hook for more of their COVID-related costs, a bad case of the virus could suddenly become a much larger financial burden.
- Or patients may simply be less willing to get tested or vaccinated.
The big picture: The federal government has spent billions on coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccines, and in some cases — such as through the uninsured fund — has also paid providers for administering such care.
- Public and private insurers have been restricted from passing along some COVID-related costs to enrollees. But many of these restrictions are tied to the public health emergency, which is set to end next month unless it's extended again.
- The congressional standoff over new COVID funding has made this transition away from federal subsidization of care much more abrupt, especially for the uninsured.