The fact that many Americans do not have health coverage questioned the country's ability to stem the epidemic.
This may seem obvious from France, but in the United States, it is far from trivial: the House of Representatives voted, on the night of Friday March 13 to Saturday March 14, a package of measures against the Coronavirus Covid- 19 which includes free screening and the introduction of a sick leave“emergency” paid.
When the text takes effect, the test will be “free for anyone who needs to be tested, including those who do not have insurance”, said the Democratic President of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. An elected Democrat, Katie Porter, had estimated the average cost of a screening at around 1,300 dollars (1,166 euros).
The text also provides for the possibility ofsick leave from“emergency”, with “two weeks off and up to three months off for family or medical reasons”.
>> Follow the latest news in our live
The United States does not have a universal health coverage system and millions of Americans are uninsured, or poorly insured, while paid sick leave is only available to a minority of employees, many being paid by the hour. This makes American society more vulnerable to the epidemic, with many people unable to stop working to stay homebound. The spread of the virus has helped to revive the debate on this subject already at the heart of the current presidential campaign.
The bill also provides easier access to unemployment insurance and food stamps, especially for children deprived of school to avoid the spread, and releases federal funds to finance the “Medicaid” program, covering the health of the lowest income Americans.
Before entering into force, the text will still have to be approved by the Senate, with a Republican majority, then signed by Donald Trump. But in the House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, it was the subject of a rare transpartisan agreement, and was adopted by 363 votes to 40.