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Newly signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a $2 trillion aid package aimed at shoring up America’s health care system and providing relief to those harmed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Most people know the aid package includes payments for individuals and loans for the hardest-hit industries.  It also earmarks emergency response money for states and municipalities. But what does it provide for patients and health care providers?  The short answer: A lot.

Here’s a closer look at some of the provisions impacting health care:

One missing item sought by patient advocates, however, was a remedy to prevent surprise medical billing, which occurs when patients receive bills from health care providers or hospitals that were, unbeknown to them, out of network.  These unexpected bills are devastating, particularly to COVID-19 patients, and should be addressed in a future legislative effort.

Most importantly, the aid package will help provide much-needed relief to an already-stained health care system.  It will also support access for both patients with the coronavirus and those who live with unrelated chronic conditions, but still need care during the pandemic. 

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