- Title: CDC director grilled on COVID-19 testing costs to Americans
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: WASHINGTON D.C. UNITED STATES (MARCH 12, 2020) (UNRESTRICTED POOL) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE KATIE PORTER (D-CA) HOLDING UP A WHITE BOARD TO START QUESTIONING DURING A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON ROBERT KADLEC, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE AT HHS (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES) TAKING A GUESS ABOUT THE PRICE OF A FLU TEST PORTER HOLDING UP THE WHITE BOARD AND TALLYING THE PRICES OF TESTING TO $1,331 / THEN ENGAGING IN AN EXCHANGE WITH CDC (CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION) DIRECTOR ROBERT REDFIELD (English): PORTER: "This all totals up to one thousand three hundred and thirty one dollars. That's assuming they aren't kept in isolation. Isolation can add up for one family already $4000, and fear of these costs are gonna keep people from being tested, from getting the care they need and from keeping their communities safe. We live in a world where 40 percent of Americans cannot even afford a $400 unexpected expense. We live in a world where 33 percent of Americans put off medical treatment last year. And we have a 1331 dollar expense conservatively just for testing for the coronavirus. Dr. Redfield, do you want to know who has the Coronavirus and who doesn't?" REDFIELD: "Yes." PORTER: "Not just rich people, but everybody who might have the virus?" REDFIELD: "All of America." PORTER: "Will you commit to the CDC right now using that existing authority to pay for diagnostic testing free to every American, regardless of insurance?" REDFIELD: "Well, I can say that we're going to do everything to make sure everybody can get the care they need." PORTER: "No. Not good enough. Reclaiming my time. Dr. Redfield, you have the existing authority, will you commit, right now to using the authority that you have vested in you under law that provides a public health emergency for testing, treatment, exam, isolation. Without cost. Yes or no?" REDFIELD: "What I'm going to say is I'm going to review it in detail with..." PORTER: "No." (WHITE FLASH) PORTER: "I hope that that answer weighs heavily on you. Because it is going to weigh very heavily on me and every American family." REDFIELD: "Our intent is to make sure every American gets the care and treatment they need at this time of this major epidemic. And I'm currently working with HHS to see how to best operationalize it." PORTER: "Dr. Redfield, you don't need to do any work to operationalize. You need to make a commitment to the American people so they come in to get tested. You can operationalize the payment structure tomorrow." REDFIELD: "I think you're an excellent question. So my answer is yes." PORTER: "Excellent. Everybody in America hear that you are eligible to go get tested for coronavirus and have that covered regardless of insurance. Please, if you believe you have the illness, follow precautions. Call first, do everything the CDC and Dr. Fauci (NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci) God bless you for guiding Americans in this time, but do not let a lack of insurance worsen this crisis."
- Keywords: CDC COVID-19 Coronavirus Porter Redfield USA cost testing
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4VZ8EF
- Location: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:03:23
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS ONE WHITE FLASH DURING THE EXCHANGE BETWEEN PORTER AND REDFIELD
A United States lawmaker questioned CDC Director Robert Redfield repeatedly on the affordability of coronavirus testing at a congressional hearing on Thursday (March 12) on the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
U.S. Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat from California, tallied the prices of testing to $1,331 and asked Redfield, "Will you commit to the CDC right now using that existing authority to pay for diagnostic testing free to every American, regardless of insurance?"
After an exchange Redfield said, "Our intent is to make sure every American gets the care and treatment that they need at this time of this major epidemic and I am currently working with HHS to see how to best operationalize it."
"You can operationalize the payment structure tomorrow," said Porter.
"I think you're an excellent questioner so my answer is: yes," said Redfield.
Health experts have said a shortage of diagnostic test kits has made it difficult to gauge the full scale of outbreaks in the United States and curtail transmission of the virus.
More than 1,300 U.S. cases of coronavirus have been confirmed and 33 people have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The hardest-hit U.S. states, such as New York and Washington state, have struggled to quickly expand testing capacity to make such screening widely available.
(Production: Temis Tormo)
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