Speed Reads

coronavirus bill negotiations

GOP coronavirus bill seemingly excludes some nonprofit health care providers from federal assistance

There's a new sticking point in Congress' coronavirus stimulus package negotiations.

Democrats aren't pleased with the Senate GOP's bill, as evidenced by the decision to kill a procedural vote Sunday that delayed a Monday vote. One provision in the bill that stands out, The Washington Post reports, would exclude "nonprofits receiving Medicaid expenditures" from receiving federal small business loans.

Some people interpret the language as a way to specifically deny assistance to Planned Parenthood, but many Democratic aides reportedly believe it would extend to a wide range of nonprofit health care providers including those offering services for people with disabilities, nursing homes, mental health centers, and rape crisis centers.

Mara Youdelman, the managing attorney of the the National Health Law Program's Washington, D.C., office, said tens of millions of people rely on such providers, including people in rural areas where health care access can be more difficult. During a pandemic, Youdelman said, there will be a demand in services, and because Medicaid "historically underpays" for them, the providers will need more assistance to stay open. "We should be doing everything possible to keep them in business, both to help manage the pandemic and to keep people needing routine care healthy and out of overwhelmed hospitals," Youdelman said. Read more at The Washington Post.