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Higgins Says Backtracking By CDC on Testing Guidance Will Lead to a Sicker America

Aug 27, 2020
Press Release
Congressman Questions Administration’s Intent

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling for a reversal of the Trump Administration’s latest move to limit COVID-19 testing. The Congressman’s comments come following changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s COVID-19 testing guidance. The new CDC recommendation says individuals who come into close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 do not necessarily need to be tested themselves.

Higgins said: “Public health guidelines should be based on science, not politics. It’s common sense that the best path to containing a virus outbreak is to identify where it is and to limit exposure to others. The CDC’s own previous guidelines reinforced the importance of widespread testing in stopping or mitigating this pandemic, but as the Coronavirus continues to spread, the Trump Administration continues to fail the American people. 180,000 Americans have already died from COVID-19, and narrowing recommendations on who should be tested will lead to a sicker America and more preventable deaths. The Administration’s politically motivated maneuvers are undermining public trust in our medical experts and in our public health institutions, and must be reversed immediately.”

Our nation’s leading infectious disease expert and member of the White House’s own Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed concerns over the decision, saying that he was not included in the discussion and adding: "I am concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact it is."

Higgins joined other members of the House on a letter to the CDC requesting answers on how this decision was made, what analysis was conducted to arrive at this new directive and who, specifically, directed the changes.

This week’s shift by the CDC is just the latest action by the Trump Administration to slow down testing.  A separate guidance narrowed the definition of what must be covered by health insurance companies in regards to COVID-19 testing, no longer requiring coverage for purposes of surveillance or employment. In letters to the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services and Western New York insurers, Higgins strongly objected to the change that blocks some Western New Yorkers from testing coverage.

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PL116-139), approved by the House in April, included more than $25 billion in federal funding to ramp up testing efforts with the explicit purpose to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 testing.