LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — With billions in federal dollars still waiting to be allocated, a new supplemental spending bill was introduced on Wednesday aimed at fighting COVID-19 and making sure there are more health care professionals to do so.
The House Appropriations Chairman, Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, rolled out House Bill 5523, which would put $1.2 billion of COVID-19 relief dollars to work. Areas that would receive funding include $300 million for health care employees, $650 million for COVID-19 tests, $300 million for schools to purchase tests and more.
This comes just a week after the House approved spending over $350 million to support first responders and improve school safety.
Last week on “To The Point,” Albert talked about putting more emphasis on treating people before they became so sick they have to be hospitalized.
“Early treatment and prevention for the spread of COVID right now are the challenges that we’re seeing. We had some health providers and people from the health industry come and testify at the committee and talk about the problems they’re facing,” he said. “One thing I’m really excited about and I think that can really be helpful for what we’re seeing right now (is) monoclonal antibodies. I think we could put a lot more emphasis on that.”
How much emphasis? The bill suggests $134 million to make the antibodies available including at locations other than understaffed hospitals.
Other potential medicines like the COVID-19 pills that are in the pipeline would also be covered in the bill. Priority would be given to “high risk” individuals, according the a release from Albert’s office.
HB 5523 will be discussed further in the Appropriations Committee.