The year 2020 looked to be historic even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, police involved shootings, riots, and Black Lives Matter protests. The USA will choose the next president, impacting the economy, security, defense, education, and healthcare.
In two previous posts I reviewed the healthcare plans of each candidate-Republican incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden.
In this and a previous post I review statements about the United States’ coronavirus pandemic response from the candidates’ official campaign websites. I encourage you to read the entire documents yourself by follow the links provided.
This post will review Mr. Biden’s page. You may want to review the previous post now, or after reading this one.
The sitting President heads the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government.
The Department of Health and Human Services through the President’s cabinet member head manages the response to COVID-19. Other Cabinet members and their Departments are involved as well.
The agencies most involved in the COVID-19 response include
- Health and Human Services-HHS
- Federal Emergency Management Agency-FEMA
- Centers for Disease Control-CDC
- National Institutes of Health-NIH
- Federal Drug Administration-FDA
- Small Business Administration-SBA
- Veterans Administration-VA
- Department of Defense -DOD
- Treasury Department
- State Department
The American people deserve an urgent, robust, and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. That is why Joe Biden is outlining a plan to mount:
- A decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free testing; the elimination of all cost barriers to preventive care and treatment for COVID-19; the development of a vaccine; and the full deployment and operation of necessary supplies, personnel, and facilities.
- A decisive economic response that starts with emergency paid leave for all those affected by the outbreak and gives all necessary help to workers, families, and small businesses that are hit hard by this crisis.
Biden will be ready on Day One of his Administration to protect this country’s health and well-being. But he is not waiting until then to communicate his views on what must be done now to properly serve the American people. Biden believes the following steps must immediately be taken. If Trump does not take them, Biden will on Day One.
December 31, 2019-China reports the coronavirus to WHO-the World Health Organization.
RESTORING TRUST, CREDIBILITY, AND COMMON PURPOSE
We must immediately put scientists and public health leaders front and center in communication with the American people in order to provide regular guidance and deliver timely public health updates, including by immediately establishing daily, expert-led press briefings.
Ensure that public health decisions are made by public health professionals and not politicians
Immediately restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which was established by the Obama-Biden Administration
MOUNTING AN EFFECTIVE NATIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE THAT SAVES LIVES, PROTECTS FRONTLINE WORKERS, AND MINIMIZES THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
Ensure that every person who needs a test can get one – and that testing for those who need it is free.
Task all relevant federal agencies to take immediate action to ensure that America’s hospital capacity can meet the growing need
Prepare to stand up multi-hundred-bed temporary hospitals in any city on short notice
Expand CDC surveillance programs
Instruct the CDC to establish real-time dashboards tracking
- (1) hospital admissions related to COVID-19, especially for ICUs and emergency departments, and
- (2)supply chain information for essential equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Give all frontline workers high-quality and appropriate personal protective equipment . Issue guidance to states to prioritize first responders to receive PPE, and educate the public on reserving equipment for professionals.
Ensure the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are swiftly accelerating the development of rapid diagnostic tests, therapeutics and medicines, and vaccines. NIH must be responsible for the clinical trial networks and work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on trial approvals.
Instruct the CDC to provide guidance and resources about containment and mitigation to schools, health care facilities, higher education, and school administrators, and the general public.
Work with businesses to expand production of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, and additional products such as bleach and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Establish and fund a U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Reserve Corps to expand medical and public health capacity.
Expand staffing for the Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program for fire departments can increase staffing. As Vice President he secured an expansion of the SAFER Act.
Increase federal resources to cover all necessary federal costs, and create a State and Local Emergency Fund to meet critical health and economic needs to combat this crisis
ELIMINATING COST BARRIERS FOR PREVENTION OF AND CARE FOR COVID-19.
Amend the PHS Act to cover all testing, treatment, and preventive services necessary to address a public health emergency for an infectious disease. All commercial plans and public plans-Medicare, Medicaid, VA, etc- would be required to cover services.
Fund and expand authority for the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to reimburse health care providers for COVID-19-related costs not covered by insurance.
Secure maximum Medicaid enrollment for currently eligible populations
Provide explicit authority for the HHS Secretary to approve the commercial price of vaccines developed in conjunction with federally funded research
PURSUING DECISIVE ECONOMIC MEASURES TO HELP HARD-HIT WORKERS,FAMILIES, AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND TO STABILIZE THE AMERICAN ECONOMY
The immediate economic measures in Biden’s plan include
Comprehensive 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave envisioned in the FAMILY Act and 7 days of paid sick leave in the Healthy Families Act. The paid leave plan will cover 100% of weekly salaries or average weekly earnings up to $1400.00 weekly.
Reimbursements to employers up to 14 days of paid sick leave, in addition to existing employer paid leave
Ensure unemployment benefits are available to those who would be denied due to rules that should not apply in a crisis
Employment relief for reduced hours, work-sharing arrangements, domestic workers, caregivers, gig workers or independent contractors with reduced pay and hours
Expanded food relief for hard-pressed families and children, creating a federal-state partnership to expand SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) relief
Increase Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for the state administered Medicaid program
Establish a temporary small and medium size loan program to address unanticipated shortfalls in revenue
Support for child care and remote student learning by expanding assistance to federal child care enters and Title 1 schools
Relief or forbearance of federal student loans and federally backed mortgages
Protect union health funds
A state and local emergency fund for governors and mayors to respond to their communities’ needs including
- Mortgage and rental relief for impacted workers
- Employer assistance for job maintenance
- Interest free loans for small businesses
- Cash assistance or refundable tax relief
RALLYING THE WORLD TO CONFRONT THIS CRISIS WHILE LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE
Direct the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in coordination with the State Department, DOD, HHS, and the CDC, to mobilize an international response to assist vulnerable nations to address COVID-19
Empower the State Department to ensure the U.S. plays a major role in all global decisions about the outbreak
Create a Global Health Emergency Board to harmonize crisis response for vulnerable communities, ensuring a coordinated health and economic response globally
Bolster CDC and DOD’s disease detection and protections programs to protect America’s troops and deployed citizens, providing testing and treatment, and evacuation when necessary
Expand the Global Health Security Agenda to mobilize the world against the threat of infectious diseases (established under the Obama-Biden administration)
Fully staff all federal agencies, task forces, and scientific and economic advisory groups focused on health security.
Build a global health security workforce by investing in the education of public health professionals, including the CDC’s training programs Fight climate change as a driver of health threats; fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and global health security
Exploring the HEART of health
By following this blog, you’ll know when I post the additional pieces reviewing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other topics that explore the HEART of health.
And please, register if you need to, and don’t neglect to vote in your upcoming primaries and on November 3.