Perspective: Your Senators Need to Hear from you on COVID-19 Relief Package

Congress returns to Washington, D.C., on Monday, and the stakes are extremely high. The Senate will begin serious negotiations on the next COVID-19 relief package, and we expect Congress to pass legislation before the August congressional recess.

We need to mount a full court press to ensure that hospitals and health systems — and their front-line caregivers — receive additional federal support as we navigate the greatest public health and financial challenges our organizations have ever faced.

To make the case, we need your help on the ground game. Please reach out to your senators and ask them to include the following priorities in the next package:

  • full forgiveness for Medicare accelerated payments;
  • additional dollars for the Provider Relief Fund;
  • more support for front-line caregivers;
  • liability protections for front-line medical providers and facilities; and
  • maintaining health benefits for individuals and families … and increasing coverage options for the uninsured.

We have a full suite of tools to assist you on these issues and others we want included in the package. And on our July 20 Virtual Advocacy Day webcast, we’ll share additional resources and messages you can use with your senators to help make the case.

While you are engaging with your senators, please know that AHA is working on a number of fronts to provide the air cover.

We’re running ads on national TV, including the Sunday morning news shows, and on social media.

We’re pushing out studies, including the most recent that estimated hospitals will lose a staggering $323 billion — and it could be more — by the end of the year as a result of COVID-19, and highlighting case examples from hospitals and health systems sharing how the financial strain is affecting their organizations and communities. Watch for a new study and examples next week.

And, just yesterday, the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care — of which the AHA is a founding member — released new national public opinion polling that showed Americans … on both sides of the political aisle … view hospitals very favorably and support Congress providing additional financial relief to combat COVID-19. 

Starting Monday … and until the next COVID-19 relief legislation is signed into law … our field needs to be loud, clear and unified. Congress needs to support hospitals and health systems that are working every day to protect the health of our entire nation.