Four Democratic state representatives introduced a series of bills aimed at helping residents steady the tide during the outbreak and immediate aftermath of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
State Reps. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown), Cara Clemente (D-Lincoln Park), and Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) introduced five bills and a resolution aimed at easing the minds and financial burdens of those in Michigan.
“We want people to be tested, treated and quarantined for this,” Hammoud said. “So the package turns that into a benefit of medical insurance.”
Hammoud and his staff took the lead on the package, as he has a background in the field from prior to taking office.
“We knew quickly that an outbreak of that sort would make its way here,” he said. “We went to work quickly a few weeks ago. We’re trying to do all that we can to contain this.”
Hammoud said elected officials need to be leaders and not just on the sidelines being reactive.
“As legislators, we need to work with our institutions to provide them the tools they need to minimize the risk for Michigan residents,” he said. “This bill package establishes a dedicated plan to help address several aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has begun to take root in our country and state. It is vital that we implement all necessary protections to ensure that those in need of medical services are not deterred by cost, that cases are accurately reported to the state, and that people aren’t forced to go to work following exposure over fear of losing out on a paycheck.
Three of the six bills introduced were directly from Hammoud. They are:
•House Bill 5630: Would establish coronavirus reporting requirements, definitions and coverage of the uninsured
•House Bill 5631: Creates the pandemic outbreak fund, which would be dedicated to addressing costs and acting as reinsurance to help cover wage loss
•House Bill 5632: Would require Medicaid coverage, at no out-of-pocket expense, of costs associated with the coronavirus, including treatment and testing, wage loss, medications, vaccines, and hand sanitizer and face masks
Camilleri introduced House Bill 5633, which would require private insurance coverage, at no out-of-pocket expense, of costs associated with the coronavirus, including treatment and testing, medications, vaccines, and hand sanitizer and face masks.
“With an issue as serious as coronavirus, the last thing we want to see is people skipping testing or lifesaving treatment because of cost,” he said. “At this critical moment, I believe we have a duty as a state to provide care to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay.”
Clemente’s contribution was House Bill 5629, which would require DHHS, in coordination with local health departments, to develop a model pandemic preparedness plan to assist governmental entities in the future.
“In my second term as a legislator, I have learned firsthand the importance of proactivity when working to resolve urgent matters,” Clemente said. “No more should this principle apply than in the space of public health. My legislation would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide all government entities in the state with a pandemic preparedness plan to help mitigate the spread and effects of disease within our communities. Access to accurate information, a concise strategy, and resources ahead of time is crucial to protecting our state’s residents now and in the future.”
Manoogian’s contribution was House Resolution 242, which urges Congress and the Center for Disease Control to provide financial support to our state to assist Michigan in combating the coronavirus.