Hospitals and individuals are being incentivized to keep the COVID-19 frenzy going as long as possible.
Last month, Congress passed the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a law designed to stimulate the economy and assist businesses in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic. But this legislation may be having an effect on how soon the nation wants this crisis to end.
For some businesses and individuals, the coronavirus pandemic has been very profitable.
The national average of a state unemployment check is $378 per week. The CARES Act added a $600 bonus to people unemployed during the pandemic, bringing the nationwide average to $978 per week.
According to a report by the Leadership Conference Fund and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, over 42 percent of working Americans earn less than $15 an hour. New benefits created by the CARES Act provide many of those Americans the equivalent of more than $24 per hour.
Additionally, the bill expanded who is eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The self employed, gig workers, part time employees, and contract workers are now qualified to receive checks. Many unemployed workers are making more money during the state imposed lockdowns than they were when they were gainfully employed.
Quitters may get benefits, too. Most states are allowing unemployment benefits for those who quit their jobs due to the pandemic. Caring for a family member with the virus, having a child whose school was closed, or if you’ve been told to self quarantine are now widely accepted reasons to resign your position and and start collecting benefits.
Hospitals also benefit greatly from the CARES Act.
Traditionally, hospitals eat the cost of treating uninsured patients. However, provisions within the CARES Act guarantee medical facilities will be fully compensated for the treatment of patients presumed to have COVID-19.
The US Department of Health and Human Services website states the CARES Act provides $100 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. “This funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to ensure uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19.”
In addition to the guaranteed payments, new guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provide an additional bonus. “The CARES Act provided for a 20% add-on to the inpatient prospective payment system (PPS) DRG rate for COVID-19 patients for the duration of the public health emergency,” The CMS website states.
These new provisions incentivize facilities to keep COVID-19 patients in the hospital longer and use the most expensive procedures, like ventilation.
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis in January, nearly 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Hospitals have admitted tens of thousands, with the total number of beds filled growing daily.