Health Groups Ask Sen. Casey to Protect Emergency Workers in Next Stimulus

Pennsylvania still faces severe PPE shortages, emphasizing need for federal support

PHILADELPHIA, PA — PennPIRG, Consumer Health Coalition, Maternity Care Coalition, and several other groups sent a letter to Sen. Casey on July 2nd thanking him for supporting the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which would establish central, transparent coordination of the medical supply chain during the COVID-19 crisis.

The groups are also asking Senator Casey to urge Senate leadership to include the legislation in the next coronavirus stimulus package. The letter comes after health officials expressed serious concern over continued shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid rising cases and a lack of federal support.

“We’re three months into this pandemic and health professionals still lack adequate personal protective equipment. As states like Pennsylvania reopen, cases could rise, and the glaring holes in the medical supply chain will only get wider if we don’t fix them now,” said Emma Horst-Martz, a campaign associate at PennPIRG.

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Rather than coordinating the supply chain and establishing a transparent system to get medical supplies directly to areas in need, the federal government has largely left states to fend for themselves. The result is that states, local governments, and hospitals are competing against each other for supplies, and healthcare workers aren’t getting what they need to protect themselves and save lives.

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Chris Murphy (CT) introduced The Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which would create a central, transparent system for procuring and distributing medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. The Act also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make a plan for scaling up production and optimizing distribution of testing supplies.

The House added provisions from this bill into the Heroes Act, its most recent coronavirus legislative package. Now, Pennsylvania health groups are asking Sen. Casey to urge Senate leadership to add the same language into the Senate’s next coronavirus package, which it is expected to take up in late July.

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