Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A loophole in the new coronavirus response legislation that President Trump signed into law this week exposes some patients to being billed for coronavirus tests — despite lawmakers' claims that the tests are free for everyone.

Details: The law says tests that have received FDA authorization must be free, but seems to leave out those tests that are awaiting or don't need such emergency approval.

  • The FDA has allowed labs to run tests while their authorization is pending, creating a window in which coverage may not be required under law.
  • The agency also recently issued new guidance allowing states to review tests themselves.
  • The exception "leaves patients open to surprise billing for tests administered under current policy," the Infectious Diseases Society of America wrote in a statement earlier this week.

Yes, but: Many insurers have pledged to fully cover the tests, so just because a patient receives one of these exempted coronavirus tests doesn't mean they'll necessarily be billed.

  • And the Senate GOP proposal for the third round of coronavirus-related legislation includes a provision that would fix the problem.
  • "If not remedied it will leave patients holding the bag for high testing bills and ultimately limit the number of tests being covered during this public health crisis," the American Medical Association wrote in an email to lawmakers acquired by Axios.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

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What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.