On January 15, 2021, then President-Elect Biden announced his COVID-19 and stimulus plan, the American Rescue Plan, hoping Congress will take up and pass the legislation. Biden specifically included Community Health Centers, wanting to increase partnerships with health centers and boost their federal funding. In it, Biden calls to “launch a new partnership with Federally Qualified Health Centers nationwide.” Other elements of the plan include:
- Mount a $20 billion national vaccination program in partnership with states, localities, and Tribes. This will include launching community vaccination centers nationwide and deploying mobile vaccination units to hard-to-reach areas. Also, ensure that everyone receives the vaccine for free, regardless of their immigration status.
- Invests $50 billion in a massive expansion of testing, including for purchasing rapid tests, expanding lab capacity, and helping schools and local governments implement regular testing protocols.
- Funding 100,000 public health workers to perform vaccine outreach and contact tracing in the short term, and eventually to transition into community health roles.
- Address shortages of critical supplies, including PPE, by investing $30 billion to provide 100% federal reimbursement for critical emergency response resources to states, local governments, and Tribes, including deployment of the National Guard. Also invest $10 billion to expand domestic manufacturing for pandemic supplies.
- Extend and expand emergency paid leave measures until Sept. 30, 2021.
- Reduce the number of uninsured persons by having Congress subsidize (COBRA) through the end of September and expand and increase Premium Tax Credits for Marketplace plans.
- Expand access to behavioral health services by asking Congress to appropriate $4 billion to HRSA and SAMHSA. (Presumably, some of this would go to FQHCs.)