Dear U.S. Senators, we demand more.

June 1, 2020

By Jackie Nappo

With the U.S. Senate reconvening next week, it’s time for them to pass another bold  COVID-19 relief package for all U.S. residents.

The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which gave $500 billion to states and $375 billion to towns and cities. The Senate package needs to match or exceed those funds to help families during one of the most devastating crises we’ve faced as a nation.

Earlier this week, Universal Health Care wrote a letter

to Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. In that letter, we outlined policies that need to be included in the next relief package that address concerns for front line workers, struggling families and safe voting in November. We stress that the inequities in our health system for immigrants and people of color must be addressed.

First and foremost, the next package must work harder to improve the affordability of care and health coverage as people are losing their incomes and health insurance. It would be helpful to expand the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies, and to protect people from medical debt from co-pays and deductibles.

What would be best to protect people is allowing emergency enrollment in Medicare or Medicaid for anybody who is uninsured or unemployed.

We urgently need a comprehensive response that doesn’t leave anybody out. It goes without saying that we also must guarantee that any treatment, testing, or vaccine be made affordable and accessible to everybody.

Second, we cannot continue to sacrifice the safety of our essential and frontline workers. Doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, dietary aids, housekeeping staff, grocery store workers, and delivery workers have put their lives on the line, we must ensure that they have hazard pay, adequate protective gear, and proper safety regulations to protect them in what is likely the most stressful and scary time in their careers.

Beyond this, Medicaid essential providers, community health centers, and mental health and substance abuse treatment programs need to be getting their fair share of funding. They work as tirelessly as all of our other frontline heroes, and they need to be supported accordingly.

Finally, we need to safeguard our democracy now, to be sure that every single registered voter can cast a ballot this November without fearing for their safety.

This means a few things, including allocating funding to the postal service, supporting the census with both funding and a delay of reporting deadlines, and funding to ensure that voting can be safe for both poll workers and voters alike.

All of these are meaningless without a concerted effort to improve our public health infrastructure and social safety net. We cannot beat the pandemic without testing, contact tracing, and isolation in every community in the country. We also need to strengthen our federal food assistance programs, improve our federal paid sick leave policy, and send out another round of stimulus checks to help people get back on their feet.

It’s time to let our U.S. Senators know that we demand their help. Use this link to make a phone call to your Senators, and let them know that you need a relief package that helps us all in this COVID-19 crisis.

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