Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Under Questioning, CDC Director Agrees To Provide Free Testing for COVID-19, Regardless Of Insurance

By Taylor Carmichael - Mar 13, 2020 at 2:46PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

While testifying before Congress, CDC chief Dr. Robert Redfield confirmed his agency will pay for COVID-19 testing on people without insurance.

In a dramatic confrontation in Congress yesterday, Representative Katie Porter questioned Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The topic was the lackluster testing for COVID-19 in the U.S., and how to improve the numbers. By the end of the question-and-answer session, Redfield had committed to providing free COVID-19 tests to the uninsured.  

"Will you commit to the CDC right now using that existing authority to pay for diagnostic texting free to every American regardless of insurance?" Porter asked, after demonstrating how costly testing and healthcare services become for uninsured people.

"Well, I can say that we're going to do everything to make sure everybody can get the care they need," Redfield said.

"Nope, not good enough," Porter responded. "Dr. Redfield, you have the existing authority. Will you commit right now to using the authority that you have vested in you under law that provides in a public health emergency for testing, treatment, exam, isolation without cost — yes or no?"

COVID-19 blood test

Image Source: Getty Images

After some more give and take, Redfield agreed to approve the expenditure. "I think you're an excellent questioner, so my answer is yes," Redfield said, under oath.

Both the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have been criticized for the small number of COVID-19 tests performed in the U.S. It's not just the cost; for many months the only approved test for COVID-19 was the government's test. And at first, the test wasn't working correctly. Then there were shortages of the necessary reagents. 

The FDA has recently sped up the approval process for COVID-19 testing from non-government labs. Two of the largest diagnostic companies in the U.S., LabCorp (LH 1.23%) and Quest Diagnostics (DGX 2.10%), have both started testing for COVID-19.


Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated Stock Quote
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
$140.31 (2.10%) $2.89
Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings Stock Quote
Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings
$242.56 (1.23%) $2.94

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.