Trump Signs Bill Replenishing Coronavirus Relief Funding
By Staff and Wire reports | 04.24.20
Legislation provides $484 billion for company payrolls, hospitals, small business loans, and a national testing system.
The bill, passed almost unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 23, replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and funds a nationwide testing system. According to media reports, the legislation restocks the PPP with $321 billion (the program reached its $349 billion cap in just two weeks). The funding—which includes $60 billion for small lenders—will help enable small businesses to continue paying their workers while they stay closed to flatten the COVID-19 infection curve.
“Millions of people out of work,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said after the House voted on the bill. “This is really a very, very, very sad day. We come to the floor with nearly 50,000 deaths, a huge number of people impacted, and the uncertainty of it all. We hope to soon get to a recovery phase. But right now we’re still in mitigation.”
Trump put a positive spin on the legislation (the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act), telling reporters at his daily White House briefing after the vote, “At a time when many Americans are enduring significant economic challenges, this bill will help small businesses to keep millions of workers on the payroll.”
The legislation also includes $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing. More financial relief is likely to follow, though Congressional Democrats have vowed to include additional resources for state and local governments in the next funding package.
“The AHA thanks the Administration and leaders in Congress for working to boost funding for the emergency relief fund for hospitals and other providers on the front lines in this legislative package,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said when the bill cleared the U.S. Senate on April 21. “The efforts to secure additional funding are greatly appreciated by hospitals and health systems across the country who will now be able to continue their efforts on behalf of their patients and communities.”
Within hours of Trump’s signature on the bill, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) released a formal statement. The organization thanked Congress and the President for working together to pass the latest COVID-19 stimulus package, which will provide additional relief for smaller medical technology companies and a significant boost to the nation’s testing capabilities.
“Building on the impressive legislative work they’ve already done in the fight against this pandemic, Congress and the administration have again come together to ensure America’s health care providers and small businesses have the support they need,” said Scott Whitaker, AdvaMed president and CEO. “This latest stimulus package will enable many more smaller medtech companies to retain their employees and continue to develop life-changing innovations, and it will help boost the nation’s testing infrastructure which is absolutely vital to paving the road to U.S. recovery. While more needs to be done to ensure that employees of private equity- and venture capital-backed small businesses have access to the Paycheck Protection Program, and more needs to be done to lay the groundwork for addressing the backlog of deferred procedures and services, this is an important step in addressing immediate needs in response to the crisis.”
The latest legislative stimulus package signed by President Trump includes many provisions for which AdvaMed advocated. Smaller medtech companies, which comprise more than 80 percent of the industry, will benefit from an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program—$250 billion of which will be accessible by small medtech companies, an additional $10 billion in Emergency Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and a $50 billion boost for the Disaster Loans Program Account.
On the diagnostic testing front, the legislation includes $25 billion for necessary expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests. That includes $11 billion dedicated to states and other local authorities for pandemic testing, to scale-up laboratory capacity, develop trace contacts, and support employer testing. Additional funds are also directed to CDC, NIH, FDA, and other agencies to expedite development and implementation of COVID-19 testing.