02.13.20

Rep. Takano Leads Bipartisan Letter to HHS Requesting Reimbursement Guidelines for Expenses State and Local Governments Incurred in Response to Coronavirus

Riverside, CA – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) led 16 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursements for costs they incur in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

In the letter, the Representatives state, “The administration has already identified military bases and health facilities near 11 major airports that can support Americans evacuated from China, including facilities in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, New York, Washington, New Jersey, Michigan, and the District of Columbia.  Many state and local health departments and hospitals have helped support the transportation and quarantine efforts, and it is important they be notified of the criteria by which HHS will ask them to document and report what resources they contributed to the federal response for reimbursement.”

They continue, “In response to previous public health emergencies, federal funding was distributed to state and local efforts that directly supported federal activities.  For example, in 2009, state and local agencies received federal funding to respond to ongoing and emerging outbreaks of H1N1 influenza in the United States.  In 2014, state and local public health activities received federal funding for preparedness planning and operational readiness in response to Ebola.  In 2016, states, cities, and territories received federal funding to support efforts to protect Americans from Zika and associated adverse health outcomes, including microcephaly and other serious birth defects.  The current health emergency response should be no different.”

Rep. Takano led the House companion letter to a separate letter sent out earlier today by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.

The letter was signed by: Reps. Ken Calvert (CA-42), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Max Rose (NY-11), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Maxine Waters (CA-43), David Scott (GA-13), John Garamendi (CA-03), Will Hurd (TX-23), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Bradley Schneider (IL-10), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), and Ed Case (HI-01).

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

February 13, 2020

The Honorable Alex M. Azar II

Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20201       

Dear Secretary Azar: 

We write to ask that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) establish clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for costs they incur as part of the federal response to the current deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The administration has already identified military bases and health facilities near 11 major airports that can support Americans evacuated from China, including facilities in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, New York, Washington, New Jersey, Michigan, and the District of Columbia.  Many state and local health departments and hospitals have helped support the transportation and quarantine efforts, and it is important they be notified of the criteria by which HHS will ask them to document and report what resources they contributed to the federal response for reimbursement.

In response to previous public health emergencies, federal funding was distributed to state and local efforts that directly supported federal activities.  For example, in 2009, state and local agencies received federal funding to respond to ongoing and emerging outbreaks of H1N1 influenza in the United States.  In 2014, state and local public health activities received federal funding for preparedness planning and operational readiness in response to Ebola.  In 2016, states, cities, and territories received federal funding to support efforts to protect Americans from Zika and associated adverse health outcomes, including microcephaly and other serious birth defects.  The current health emergency response should be no different.

We appreciate the department’s coordination with state and local agencies so far to prevent a wider coronavirus outbreak in the United States.  We urge that the department release guidance regarding reimbursement to state and local agencies so that they can continue to operate with the certainty that they will receive reimbursement as the crisis continues.

Thank you for your attention to this issue and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Mark Takano

Ken Calvert

Raul Ruiz

Juan Vargas

Max Rose

Donald M. Payne, Jr.

Joaquin Castro

Debbie Dingell

Maxine Waters

David Scott

John Garamendi

Will Hurd

Andy Kim

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Bradley Schneider

Tulsi Gabbard

Ed Case

###

Press Contact

Lana Abbasi (951) 222-0203