U.S. Senator Addresses Virus, Discusses New Legislation
Facing the viral health threat, Louisiana’s senior Senator said the nation is preparing to head off a crisis.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) spoke with reporters over growing concerns of Covid-19, Monday, March 2. According to Dr. Cassidy, based on his experience as a physician, the country was not in a healthcare crisis, rather taking steps to avoid a crisis.
“It is not a healthcare crisis in the sense that we have wide-spread infections throughout all of our communities,” explained Dr. Cassidy. “It is that point before that, that we have to quickly get everything ready so we don’t end up with widespread infections.”
“It is pre-crisis mode,” he said. “It is prevent-a-crisis mode.”
Earlier today, Gov. John Bell Edwards announced a Covid-19 task force to address the issue when it arrives in Louisiana. Dr. Cassidy said he would be in contact with Edwards to provide whatever federal support he required.
The federal government has invested in the infrastructure to rapidly produce vaccines once they become available, according to Dr. Cassidy.
“We do have an infrastructure which can expedite the production of a vaccine,” he said. “We do have vaccine manufacturing plants that the federal government has invested in, so when a vaccine becomes available, immediately these vaccine manufacturing plants become available to produce that vaccine.”
Also, faster methods for identifying the virus in patients are being worked on, and once a lab can prove a test’s reliability, Dr. Cassidy said, the FDA is poised to expedite its availability.
Dr. Cassidy advocated a public health bill he worked on which, he said, was not in response to the virus but happened to coincide with it, which would have an account of money to pull from for public health, based on the before and aftermath of Katrina.
Secondly, Dr. Cassidy proposed an expansion of “tele-health,” which allowed patients to avoid exposing or being exposed to illnesses found in a medical office.
“Currently there’s restrictions on telehealth,” Dr. Cassidy said. “I think now is the time to take care of those, to eliminate those, restrictions.”
Dr. Cassidy said, doctors could send health care workers to visit patients.
He also said he was proposing that a bill currently making its way through the Senate Finance Committee is passed quickly.
It is geared towards protecting senior citizens from high healthcare costs associated with therapeutic drugs by capping the cost, “that would protect a senior from paying 5% of whatever costs are associated with developing the drug.”