The Senate HEALS Act proposal provides much needed public health money, but falls short on funding level
Contact: Matt Prior, email@example.com, 570-878-3847
Washington, DC – On Monday evening, Senate Republicans and administration officials unveiled the Health; Economic Assistance; Liability Protection; and Schools (HEALS) Act, a $1 trillion COVID-19 relief package, expected to be the final COVID-19 relief package before the November elections. This package is the Senate’s response to the $3 trillion bill the House passed in late May, a package that included $75 billion in new funding for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. By comparison, the Senate’s package includes $16 billion in new funding for testing, contact tracing, and surveillance.
David C. Harvey, executive director for the National Coalition of STD Directors issued the following statement on the Senate’s proposal.
“We commend the Senate for their proposal to invest much needed resources for testing and contact tracing. Right now, rates are trending in the wrong direction, and we’re losing the battle against COVID-19 on many fronts. The main strategies to fight COVID-19 are mass scale testing and contact tracing, and nationwide shutdowns. Ramping up a testing and contact tracing workforce is our best bet to break the chain of infection, and would create thousands of jobs and avoid a situation where we are facing shutdowns again. It just makes sense to invest in public health.
Any investment in core fundamental public health activities, like testing and contact tracing, is a down payment on our nation’s health. We thank the Senate for their proposal to invest new funds in these strategies, and call upon both houses of Congress to support the higher $75 billion for testing and contact tracing. Our state and local health departments are calling for immediate federal support, and we look to Congress to heed this call.”
The National Coalition of STD Directors is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and community-based partners across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight US territories. Our mission is to advance effective STD prevention programs and services across the country. NCSD does this as the voice of our membership. We provide leadership, build capacity, convene partners, and advocate.