The Senate Minority Leader is calling for a government stimulus for provider organizations.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the federal government to provide a "Marshall Plan for Hospitals" during a television appearance Wednesday night.
Schumer spoke about how leaders on Capitol Hill should respond to the continuing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has affected all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"First, we need to have a Marshall Plan for our hospitals," Schumer said on Anderson Cooper 360. "As the number of illnesses increase, the number of people seriously ill increase, our hospitals are not totally prepared. They need more beds. They need more ventilators. They need more equipment. They need more personnel."
In addition to supplying hospitals with supplemental clinical support and medical supplies, Schumer said the federal government should enact an 'employment insurance' provision for workers affected by the crisis.
"We want to say anyone who loses his or her job because of this crisis will get paid fully by the federal government—it's employment insurance, not unemployment insurance, and that will put money in the pockets of the people who need it most," Schumer said.
Schumer's comments came shortly after President Donald Trump signed an emergency coronavirus funding package, which includes provisions that provide free testing for COVID-19 and two weeks of paid leave, along with additional funds for Medicaid and public assistance programs.
Currently, congressional leaders and Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are reportedly working on another stimulus package that would send $2,000 checks to Americans and inject $300 billion into small businesses affected by the crisis.
Schumer told Cooper that he spoke with Mnuchin and was encouraged by some aspects of their conversation, though there are other provisions that congressional Democrats want to see in a formal proposal.
"The one thing I did tell him as well, though, if there are going to be some of these corporate bailouts, we need to make sure workers and labor come first," Schumer said. "That people are not laid off. That people's salaries are not cut. If these big companies, many of which did buybacks, the airlines I think did about $300 billion of stock buybacks, they have to put their workers first if they're going to get this help."
Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.
Photo credit: Washington, DC - February 27, 2017: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks to a press conference at the National Press Club / Editorial credit: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com