WE NEED TO HAVE UNIVERSAL CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT
Late on Wednesday Congress passed, and the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act(FFCRA). It is being reported that Congress is already working on presenting another bill to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. I applaud Congress on their diligent work in passing the FFCRA, and that they have already begun work on another bill to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Having the FFCRA include universal testing regardless of health insurance was a good first step. However, knowing that you may have the virus is not enough. We need to provide treatment for everyone who needs it—in order for us to effectively prevent the virus from spreading and causing death.
This is particularly important for Texas because we have the largest percentage and number of people without insurance. Regrettably, many of Texas’ roughly 5 million uninsured residents will contract this very infectious virus, just like those with insurance will. But, unlike those with insurance the uninsured and under insured will face crippling medical bills if they need treatment to survive the disease.
We are all in this together and need to take extraordinary steps in this time of pandemic. Letting the uninsured and under insured get sick and denying them treatment because of their inability to pay will cause the virus to spread to even more Texans and that is something we should not tolerate. That is why during this time of pandemic, I have implored congress to provide for universal coverage for the treatment of the coronavirus in their next bill.
Additionally, I have asked that Texas to ask the Federal government to include in their 1135 Mediciad Waiver to include universal coverage for coronavirus treatment. Additionally, providing this limited emergency coverage will make sure that doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and hospitals, are properly compensated for what will be a monumental effort over what could be the next several months.
Also, as Chair of the House Committee on County Affairs, I know that in Texas counties play the lead role in responding to disasters on the local level, and bear a great financial burden in doing so. Hence our 1135 Medicaid Waiver request should reimburse our counties and other local governments for testing, treating, containing, and educating the public about the virus.
If You Or Someone In Your Home Gets Sick
- If you think you or someone in your home may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
- You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
- Do your best to minimize contact between you and well members of your home.
- Wear a facemask when around others
- Clean your hands often and high touch surfaces daily
- Monitor your symptoms, and contact your healthcare if symptoms worsen
As our community continues to work to slow the spread of the coronavirus, I wanted to make you aware of some of the resources out there to help you through this difficult time.
The Houston Health Department is operating a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call center for Houston residents needing more information COVID-19. Houstonians can call the center at 832-393-4220 to speak to department staff and obtain information about the disease or get their questions answered. The call center will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Houston Food Bank and Houston ISD are working together to get food out to our community. Curbside pickup is available and social distancing is required. For more information click here. You can also click here to view a map of pick up locations.
Texas Workforce Commission
The waiting week for unemployment benefits has been temporarily waived, allowing the Texas Workforce Commission to pay your UI benefits sooner during this declared disaster. Additionally, For workers impacted by the Coronavirus, the Workforce Commission has waived requirement that one must be looking for work in order to apply for unemployment benefits.
If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC ’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities. Texas is currently working with SBA to qualify for this declaration.
Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and some private nonprofit organizations that have suffered substantial economic injury due to COVID-19 may be eligible for an EIDL of up to $2 million, which will provide the necessary working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. EIDL assistance will only be available to small businesses when the SBA determines they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere. For more info click here.