March 12, 2020

COVID-19 Presidential Address

Charlie Black

Last night, President Trump outlined a number of actions his Administration intends to take in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. He also made several requests of Congress. Following is a brief overview.

European Travel Ban: The President announced a 30-day travel ban on individuals traveling from the 26 European countries of the Schengen Area. The President subsequently issued a Presidential Proclamation on the travel ban.

IRS Tax Filing Deadline: The President announced that he will direct the Treasury Department to allow taxpayers to defer tax payments beyond the April 15 deadline. An announcement is expected today.

Health Insurance Co-Payments: The President announced that health insurance industry leaders had promised all co-payments for coronavirus treatments will be waived.

Small Business Administration: The President instructed SBA to provide low-interest loans to firms in impacted areas, which it already has the authority to do.

Payroll Tax Relief: The President called on Congress to provide immediate payroll tax relief.

Democratic leaders in the House, not persuaded by this promise, have introduced legislation that requires private health insurance companies to cover virus testing without co-payments while eliminating fees for patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Indian Health Service. While President Trump did not mention mandatory paid sick leave in his speech, this legislation would give up to three months of emergency paid sick leave for every worker affected by COVID-19. This includes expenses stemming from caregiving responsibilities and mandatory quarantine.