House Republicans released a $47 billion Covid-19 relief proposal (H.R.14) on October 30 intended to be a "serious, targeted proposal" to address the pandemic (summary).
According to the sponsors of the legislation, among its provisions, the Commitment to Defeat the Virus and Keep America Healthy Act would:
- Strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile,
- Ensure access to needed care,
- Strengthen critical domestic health care supply chains;
- Improve public health infrastructure; and
- Address COVID-19 health disparities
Despite the recent flurry of activity surrounding COVID-19 stimulus proposals, the negotiations on a deal during the lame-duck session of Congress remain murky. With much of the political pressure to come to consensus dissipating following the election, there is a considerable amount of pessimism in D.C. that a substantial deal emerges. However, the December 11 government funding deadline may provide an opportunity for lawmakers to push through some of the less controversial relief provisions.
Impact on General Dentistry: The stalled COVID-19 stimulus package negotiations are concerning given the pandemic's continued negative impact on dental practices. AGD believes that Congress must act in the near term to provide clarity surrounding liability protections, refine existing pandemic-related financial assistance programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and provide new incentives and assistance to ensure dental practices can stay open, secure PPE, and provide care to patients in a safe environment.