The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has finally stepped up and committed to providing free coronavirus testing for anyone, whether or not they have medical insurance.
However, one congresswoman, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), had to push CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield to say yes through an intense round of questioning.
Porter began by pulling out a whiteboard, where she listed the price that one person would have to pay to get tested out of pocket. She challenged Health and Human Services official Dr. Robert Kadlec to answer how much each individual test could cost, such as a complete blood count, a metabolic panel, and an emergency room visit for a person who has been labeled a “high severity and threat” for coronavirus.
She listed that the average cost for an emergency room visit is $1,151; together, all the tests “conservatively” came to $1,331, adding that such an expense “will keep people from getting tested.”
Porter then turned her attention to Redfield and asked him if he would like to know if people do or do not have the virus, to which he replied, “Yes.” She then asked if he just wanted wealthy people to be able to afford testing. “All of America,” he responded.
Porter asked Redfield if he would “commit” the CDC to “pay for diagnostic testing for each and every American regardless of insurance?”
Redfield wouldn’t give her an immediate answer and tried to skirt the question. Porter—who’s known for asking tough questions during such hearings—continued to grill Redfield, ultimately saying, “You need to make a commitment to the American people so they come in to get tested.”
He answered, “I think you’re an excellent questioner, so my answer is yes.”
“Excellent,” Porter responded. “Everybody in America, hear that? You are eligible to go get tested for coronavirus and have that covered regardless of insurance. Please, if you believe you have the illness, follow precautions, call first, do everything the CDC and Dr. Fauci—God bless you for guiding Americans in this time. But do not let a lack of insurance worsen this crisis.”
In the U.S. alone, there are 1,573 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Forty people have died from the virus, while 15 have recovered.