USA Coronavirus Aid Bill

The US Senate, the upper house of US Parliament, had passed an aid package, worth over a 100 billion USD.

Free Testing

The aid bill provides for free availability of testing facilities for those who need it. It requires private healthcare insurance firms to cover the testing costs of those with medical coverage. Beneficiaries of government run programs like Medicaid and Medicare are also covered by the bill. Those without medical insurance are covered by the National Disaster Medical System with 1 billion USD.

The legislation requires businesses (both private and government owned) with less than 500 employees to provide up to 2 weeks of paid sick leave (for COVID-19 cases) for affected workers and for workers taking care of an affected family member. Another 10 weeks of leave can be availed by the workers at 2/3rd of the pay. Firms, with less than 50 employees, that risk going out of business are exempted. Large employers that do not give paid sick leave are also exempted.

Employment Benefits

States that extend the unemployment payments for 6 months beyond the usual time limit could get its cost covered by the bill. This is applicable to states in which the unemployment rate increases at 10% or above. These states can get interest free loans to cover costs. This would encourage employers to prefer reducing work hours of employees instead of laying them off.

Food Assistance

The bill has dedicated 250 million USD for home delivery meals for senior citizens, 400 million USD for food banks and 500 million USD for feeding mothers and young children. Schools that give free meals would distribute the same on the go. It suspended work requirement for the food stamp program.

 

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