House bill a major step forward in response to COVID-19

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The Heroes Act would ensure transparent central coordination of medical supplies, provide funding for testing and contact tracing

U.S. PIRG

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed the latest coronavirus stimulus package on Friday, The Heroes Act. The legislation includes provisions that would improve central coordination of the medical supply chain and testing infrastructure; establish a “Medical Supplies Response Coordinator” to oversee the supply chain and impose transparency and accountability measures; and provide funding for testing and contact tracing. 

States and hospitals are still being forced to compete against each other and the federal government for masks, testing supplies and other medical equipment. Local elected officials and health professionals have called on the Trump administration to ensure medical supplies go directly to areas in need and to implement comprehensive testing infrastructure. 

Health professionals have also called for funding to expand contact tracing infrastructure so that states have the resources they need to prevent future outbreaks.

In response to the passage of the Heroes Act, Matthew Wellington, Public Health Campaigns director for U.S. PIRG, issued the following statement:

“Two months into this crisis, health experts still say they lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies. The provisions in the Heroes Act that establish central, transparent coordination of the supply chain are absolutely crucial to protect health care workers.

“Funding in The Heroes Act will also get us closer to the level of testing and contact tracing we need to actually move forward through this nightmare more confidently and safely. Right now, health experts agree that we’re nowhere near adequate testing capacity.

“Overall, the House bill is a major step forward, and it’s time for the Senate to include similar provisions in their package. All of these tasks — establishing comprehensive testing and contact tracing programs, producing enough personal protective equipment, and distributing it in a timely, transparent manner — are tasks best suited to the federal government. It’s time they step up.”

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