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The Coronavirus Aide, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) ACT

March 28, 2020 5:45 PM | Anonymous

The information below reflects the Phase 3 emergency funding package as passed the Senate. 

Relief for American Families:

One-time tax rebate check

  • $1,200 for an individual, $2,400 for a couple, $500 per child.
  • Not reduced for lower income Americans.
  • Reduced for higher income Americans, starting at $75,000 or $150,000 per couple.
  • Phases out completely for individuals with adjusted gross income of $99,000 or $198,000 for couples.

Unemployment Insurance:

Expanded unemployment insurance to cover independent contractors, self-employed, and non-profit employees.


Assistance for Small Businesses:

New SBA-backed loan program to help small businesses pay for expenses

  • Paycheck Protection Loan: loans taken by small businesses to keep employees on payroll may be forgiven. Loan maximum is the lesser of $10 million or 2.5 times average monthly payroll.
  • $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans through private lenders to assist businesses with 500 or fewer employees; may be used to cover payroll, health benefits, mortgage interest/leases, and utilities during the outbreak.
  • Small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, and Tribal businesses are eligible.
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed people are eligible.
  • Loan forgiveness: For businesses that maintain employees on payroll, they can receive loan forgiveness for 8 weeks of costs related to payroll, mortgages/leases, and utilities.
  • Employers that have laid off employees may re-hire them and still qualify.
  • To receive forgiveness, businesses will have to work with their lender to justify their payroll was maintained through documentation.

Payroll Tax Deferment: Employers can defer their employer-side payroll taxes for two years. Half of that amount is due by the end of 2021, the remainder by the end of 2022.


Ensuring Access to Care for All Americans

Increased Medical Product Supplies:

  • Increases access to testing by allowing Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to stockpile medical supplies like swabs used in COVID-19 testing.
  • Permanent liability protection for manufacturers of PPE in the event of a public health emergency.

Faster Approval for Treatments:

  • Allows FDA to quickly approve the use of new medication and treatment.
  • Prioritize drug applications.
  • Requires drug manufacturers to provide additional information when there is an interruption in the supply chain as well as to submit information to FDA regarding shortages.
  • Allows Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to more easily partner with private sector on research and development, which includes helping to scale up manufacturing.
  • Provides breakthrough therapy designations for animal drugs that can prevent human diseases.

Access to Health Care for COVID-19 Patients:

  • Facilitates the use of new and innovative telemedicine technology to protect and contain the spread of COVID-19. 
    1. Expands Medicare telehealth flexibilities.
    2. Expands Medicare telehealth for home dialysis patients.
  • Reauthorizes HRSA grant programs to strengthen rural community health by focusing on quality improvement and access to care.
  • Allows Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Rural Health clinics to furnish telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • All testing for COVID-19 is to be covered by private insurance plans without cost-sharing, including those tests without an emergency use authorization.
  • Allows Medicare beneficiaries to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Medicare Part B with no cost sharing.
  • Medicare Part D plans would be allowed to provide a 90-day supply of a prescription medication during the COVID-19 emergency period.
  • Increases Medicare reimbursement rate to assist providers caring for our most vulnerable population.
  • Provides $1.32 billion in supplemental funding to Community Health Centers (CHC).

Increases Medical Professional Staffing

  • Establishes a Ready Reserve Corps to ensure we have enough trained doctors and nurses to respond to public health emergencies.
  • Includes a Good Samaritan provision for doctors who provide volunteer medical services during the public health emergency related to COVID-19 to have liability protections.
  • Allows the Secretary of HHS to reassign members of the National Health Service Corps to sites close to the one they were originally assigned, in order to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Directs the Secretary of HHS to strengthen the health professions workforce

Supporting Health Care Providers

  • $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers
  • Temporarily lifts the Medicare sequester, which reduces payments to providers by 2 percent, from May 1 through December 31, 2020, boosting payments for hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, and home health.
  • Increases payments to hospitals treating patients admitted with COVID-19 by 20 percent; this add-on payment is available through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency
  • Expands an existing Medicare accelerated payment program for hospitals. With Critical Access Hospitals eligible for an advance payment up to 125 percent, based on net reimbursement represented by unbilled discharges or unpaid bills.
  • Delays cuts to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) through November 30, 2020.

Supports Education

  • Provides $30.9 billion in emergency supplemental funding to the Department of Education.

Higher Education Assistance

  • Higher Education received $14.25 billion to directly support students and institutes of higher education. Half of this funding is directed to support students.
  • Waives the requirement for federal aid funds to be returned if students withdrew from the university during the payment period.

Student Assistance

  • Universities can use emergency financial aid grants to assist undergraduate and graduate students with unexpected expenses as a result of COVID-19.
  • Universities participating in work study may make payments to students participating in work study even though affected students were not able to fulfill the students’ work study obligation.
  • If the semester was not completed due to COVID-19, that semester will not count against the student for an enrolled semester for subsidized loan or Pell grant semester limits.
  • Students are not required to return Pell grants or federal student loans if they withdrew due to COVID-19.
  • Student loans are cancelled for this period ONLY, if the student withdraws from the university.
  • For Federal Student Loan Borrowers, all payments for federal loans have been suspended through September 30, 2020. All interest has also been suspended until September 30, 2020.

States’ Department of Education Assistance

  • Elementary and Secondary Education received $13.5 billion to states to help respond to COVID-19. This funding can be used to meet the immediate needs of students and teachers, as well as improve remote learning.
  • The Secretary of Education may provide waivers to State Educational agencies or Indian Tribes to waive:
  1. End of year testing
  2. Attendance and long-term goal strategic plans
  3. Plans for targeted support of underperforming schools
  4. Report cards


Direct Funding to Combat the Pandemic

Coronavirus Relief Funds

  • $340 billion supplemental appropriations:
  1. $150 billion emergency relief fund for states, cities, localities to fight the pandemic.
    • Each state will receive a minimum of $1.25 billion.
  2. Support for health care workers and hospitals.
  3. Funding for Personal Protective Equipment.
  4. Support for our local responders.
  5. Funding for the research of new treatments and vaccines.
  6. Support for small businesses.
  7. Support for local colleges and universities.
  8. Support for veteran health care.
  9. Support for DOD response to COVID-19.


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