President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for COVID-19 and paid emergency leave, a move supported by Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.
“Our nation is experiencing an unprecedented moment that demands strong bipartisan leadership from Congress. This bill will give many employees that are experiencing symptoms or taking care of a child paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, and enhanced unemployment insurance. I worked to ensure that this bill increased access to food for expecting mothers, seniors, and children. The bill also ensures that people tested for coronavirus will not have to pay for the test. The President should sign it immediately,” said Senator Stabenow.
According to CNN, Under the revised bill, however, those payments would be capped at $511 a day, roughly what someone making $133,000 earns annually. The original measure called for workers to receive their full pay but limited federal reimbursement to employers to that amount.
Also, workers with family members affected by coronavirus and those whose children’s schools have closed would still receive up to two-thirds of their pay, though that benefit would now be limited to $200 a day.
Here is an outline of what the Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes for Michigan:
Implements Free Testing for Coronavirus
The bill ensures that all individuals, including those with private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, FEHBP, and TRICARE, as well as the uninsured, will not be charged out of pocket for coronavirus testing.
If you are experiencing symptoms, visit the CDC website for more information and call your local health care provider or the Michigan coronavirus hotline at 888-535-6136 about testing.
Strengthens Food Assistance
The bill includes more than $1 billion to provide nutritious food to pregnant women and mothers with young children, help food banks, and provide meals to families and seniors. Senator Stabenow also worked directly with the Michigan State Superintendent and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure Michigan would be able to distribute healthy meals while schools in the state are closed.
If your child’s school has closed, you can find student meal locations at: Michigan.gov/meetupeatup.
Safeguards Medicaid Benefits
The bill increases the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) that the federal government provides to states. Depending on the length of the pandemic, this will provide Michigan approximately $850 million to improve health care services through Medicaid.
For more information on Medicaid coverage, visit: Michigan.gov/Medicaid.
Enhances Unemployment Aid
The bill gives states the resources and flexibility to provide unemployment benefits to laid off workers and other workers who may need income assistance during the coronavirus crisis.
Establishes Paid Leave
The bill establishes emergency paid leave programs for some employees should they have to stay home to care for a child or if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. Employers and self-employed workers will be reimbursed for wages paid under these programs through refundable tax credits. Senator Stabenow is continuing her fight to expand paid leave to every worker affected by this crisis. As Congress takes additional actions, this is a priority.
For more information on paid leave, visit Dol.gov/Coronavirus.
Prevention and Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
For more information visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus