BAINBRIDGE – Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, are circulating a letter among House members urging House and Senate leadership to include direct funding for hospitals and health systems in the next supplemental spending package. As health care workers around the country cope with an unprecedented influx of respiratory patients, the bipartisan letter calls for a significant influx of funding to help those on the front lines of this pandemic.
“Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, hospitals and medical professionals across the country have been working non-stop to preserve the health and safety of the American people,” said Joyce, Co-Chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus. “However, their live-saving efforts will be limited if they do not receive significant, additional funding to handle the impending influx of patients. It is critical that Congress provide our nation’s hospitals and the unsung heroes who work there with the resources necessary to overcome the health challenges that lie ahead.”
“Our country and our economy cannot function without a health care system fully equipped to end the crisis caused by this pandemic. While it is critical that we provide much-needed assistance to the businesses and workers bearing the brunt of the economic downturn, the future of our economy depends on the success of our health care professionals,” said Quigley. “Congress must do everything in our power to ensure that they have the tools necessary to save lives and win this fight.”
The draft text of the letter is included below:
In these unprecedented times, Congress must act boldly and swiftly to ensure America’s hospitals and health systems have the resources they need to bend the trajectory of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Reporting indicates that hospitals are working relentlessly to surge capacity and brace for an influx of COVID-19 patients. The brave front line health care providers - including hospitals, health systems, physicians and nurses - must receive a quick infusion of funding so they can take the necessary steps to combat COVID-19. The American Hospital Association, in consultation with hospitals around the country, have determined $100 billion in direct funding to hospitals and health systems will be a necessary part of the next COVID-19 spending package. In order to meet the rapidly rising demands placed on our nation’s healthcare system, we urge substantial direct funding to hospitals and health systems.
The nation’s hospitals and health systems stand as our first line of defense against this unprecedented crisis. The expenses associated with responding to this crisis will be extraordinary, creating a significant cash flow problem. The full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to be felt, but already many hospitals and health care systems are facing staffing and bed challenges, an ever-increasing demand for testing, an influx of critically ill patients and a dwindling supply of medical equipment needed to care for these patients. If we do not act, the nation could see a series of hospital closures during our time of greatest need.
While we appreciate the desire to provide relief to other sectors of the economy in current and future COVID-19 spending legislation, the nation will not be able to function without a stable health care system. Congress must act now to provide our health care providers with the resources needed to meet the challenges we are facing today.