The details of the package for relief is not going to really address the crisis. The key elements of the Senate Bill that are included are:
- $1,200 cash assistance for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 for each eligible child. This money is available for all U.S. residents with an income of up to $75,000, including those with no income or who depend on social security. About 90% of Americans would qualify for government checks, though the amount decreases for those making more than $75,000 a year, with an income cap of $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples.
- A tax credit for some small businesses for 50% of wages paid to employees during the coronavirus crisis
- Boosting Medicare payments for hospitals that treat coronavirus patients by 20% and hospitals can request accelerated payments from Medicare
- Expands telehealth access
- Lifts Medicare sequester, which would have cut Medicare payments by 2% and eliminates Medicare Part B cost-sharing for coronavirus vaccine
- Provides permanent liability protection for manufacturers of personal respiratory protective equipment, such as masks and respirators, in the event of a public health emergency, to incentivize production and distribution
- Directs the National Academies to study supply chain shortages of equipment like masks and ventilators
- $1.3 billion in additional funding for Community Health Centers
- Allows students to defer loan payments for six months and keep Pell Grants
- Allow federal testing rules to be waived for K-12 students
The relief for small businesses is not adequate. A tax credit for some small businesses for 50% of wages paid to employees during the coronavirus crisis is absurd. Most have been ordered to be closed so there were no wages and they had to fire employees so they could collect unemployment. They need business loans suspended and property taxes. That will put pressure on states to lift the absurd closures.