In Response to Senators Warren, Duckworth, Van Hollen and Blumenthal, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Agrees to Convene Meeting on COVID-19 Testing Recommendation
“In response to your request, we are convening the full Task Force to discuss this issue and determine whether and how COVID-19 screening might be considered within the Task Force’s scope.”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today released a letter from United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Chair Michael Barry, in which the Task Force agreed to convene to discuss recommending COVID-19 testing as a preventive screening tool.
In his letter responding to the lawmakers’ June 2023 request, Chair Barry committed to “convening the full Task Force to discuss this issue and determine whether and how COVID-19 screening might be considered within the Task Force’s scope.” He added that “the Task Force cares deeply about improving the health of people nationwide” and that they “are exploring how testing for COVID-19 might fit within parameters” that govern the Task Force’s work.
“The need for affordable access to COVID-19 testing has not gone away with the end of the public health emergency,” said Senator Warren. “I thank the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for convening this meeting, and I look forward to working together to ensure patients can continue to access COVID-19 tests without copays.”
“We have beaten the worst of COVID-19, but access to testing is key to keeping everyone safe,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. “And for those Americans working to make ends meet, it’s critical that COVID testing is an insurance-covered cost. That’s why I’m glad to see USPSTF take this decision under consideration and will continue pushing for this necessary determination.”
“Designating COVID-19 testing as a preventative tool will ensure the service remains affordable and accessible for patients,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “I’m encouraged by the Preventative Services Task Force meeting and hope it leads to action that will help us prevent cases and transmission.”
- In April 2023, Senator Warren joined Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra urging the agency to continue providing Medicare coverage for rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests ahead of the end of the public health emergency on May 11.
- In January 2022, Senator Warren joined Senator Stabenow (D-Mich.) in sending a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chiquita Brooks-LaSure urging them to expand Medicare coverage of free at-home rapid COVID-19 testing.
- In December 2020, Senators Warren and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) sent a letter to Alex Azar, then-Secretary of HHS summarizing the findings from their investigation into the nation's testing capacity and the availability of pediatric testing and making recommendations for how the federal government can improve national testing infrastructure.
- In August 2020, Senators Warren and Smith sent letters to several of the largest coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing laboratories – Quest Diagnostics, Mayo Clinic, Labcorps, BioReference, and ARUP Laboratories – regarding each company's capacity to process COVID-19 diagnostic tests and communicate results in a timely fashion
- In March 2020, Senator Warren published a Medium post in which she laid out several steps Congress should take to increase the supplies of diagnostic testing for COVID-19 and the resources needed to administer them nationwide.
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