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December 4, 2020 - Herring Calls on Congress to Ensure Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

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Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

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~ Herring joins coalition of 13 attorneys general in calling for vaccine access for Americans on Medicaid, Medicare, and the uninsured ~

RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 13 state attorneys general in strongly urging Congress to allocate funding and codify coverage protections to guarantee that all people living in the United States are able to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine at no cost. Black, Latino, Native American, and senior communities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and are also more likely to be on Medicare, Medicaid, or uninsured. In their letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues are calling on Congress to codify an interim rule providing the vaccine to Medicare recipients at no cost, to properly fund programs for the uninsured to cover administrative fees, and to increase financial support for Medicaid.

 

“It is so important that every single Virginian and every single American has access to a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available,” said Attorney General Herring. “Unfortunately, we have seen this virus disproportionately devastate Black, Brown, and lower-income communities and we must make sure these individuals are able to get these potentially life-saving vaccines. Congress must act to ensure that all Americans, but especially those in more disadvantaged communities, are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccines so they can better protect themselves and their families.”

 

In their letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues lay out three actions for Congress to take in order to ensure equitable access to the vaccines:

  1. Congress should codify the recent Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) Interim Final Rule allowing any vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to be covered at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries
  2. The Provider Relief Fund, which gives uninsured individuals access to the vaccine, must also cover co-pay or out of pocket fees, as well as costs for outreach to uninsured communities
  3. Congress should provide states with additional financial assistance to supplement the Family First Coronavirus Response Act by ensuring that payment rates to providers are sufficient to allow Medicaid recipients to access the vaccine at no cost and providers to perform outreach to vulnerable communities

 

The exact costs of the COVID-19 vaccines for patients remain unknown, however, studies have shown that individuals who have coverage through Medicaid have lower vaccination rates than those with private health insurance. 

 

Joining Attorney General Herring in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington.

 

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