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House Democrats Introduce Legislation To Make Free At-Home Testing Available For All Americans

January 12, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Joe Morelle (D-NY), and Kaialiʻi Kahele (D-HI) introduced legislation to make rapid at-home Covid tests more widely available to the American people. The Free At-Home Tests For All Act would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “purchase in bulk a sufficient quantity of rapid tests for SARS–CoV–2 to provide two such tests per week to every resident of the United States,” and to distribute those tests free of charge. It would also fast track test approval processes.

“As our society adapts to the threat of Covid, a major challenge that continues to confront the country is the need for more testing,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Recent moves by the Biden-Harris Administration to distribute free tests and to require private insurers to fully reimburse individuals for the cost of tests are strong, and we applaud them. Our legislation would build on that progress by making free rapid at-home tests available to the American people on the scale called for by scientific and medical experts, as currently seen in other peer countries. All of us want a return to normalcy, and we need more accessible and affordable at-home testing to help get there.”

“Providing easy access to free, at-home testing is essential to addressing COVID-19. The Free At-Home Tests for All Act removes financial barriers by making rapid tests available to everyone online, over the phone, and at local pharmacies,” said Rep. Dina Titus. “Broadening Americans’ ability to acquire no-cost COVID tests will keep people safe by more quickly diagnosing COVID-19 and reducing the spread.”

“The ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the urgent need for increased testing to help limit the spread of the virus and keep communities across the country safe,” said Rep. Joe Morelle. “Our legislation addresses that need by providing free, at-home tests for all families on a regular basis. Accessible testing is a critical tool in fighting this pandemic, and I’m proud to partner with my colleagues to make that a reality.”

“Americans need better access to available, affordable testing in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our communities,” said Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02). “The Free At-Home Tests for All Act would provide every American two COVID tests per week for a year at no cost. This bill would help us keep our keiki (children) in school safely and care for our kūpuna (elders) more confidently.”

The “Free At-Home Tests for All” act would:

  • Require HHS to purchase enough rapid tests for every American to have two tests per week for one year;
  • Provide those tests at no-cost through pharmacies and schools, through Medicare and Medicaid, and by mail via online or phone order;
  • Require HHS tests to be offered with free proctored guidance, including advice to individuals who receive a positive test result on best practices and treatments, and to include prepaid envelopes with which positive tests may be mailed to public health labs for sequencing;
  • Grant automatic U.S. emergency use authorization to World Health Organization (WHO) and WHO Stringent Regulatory Authorities -approved tests; and
  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish and maintain a testing advisory committee.

Text of the bill is available here.