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As Americans wait in stunningly long lines to get tested for COVID-19, many are wondering what exactly happened to the billions of federal dollars spent to supposedly address pandemic issues such as this.
At least $73 billion had been allocated by the Biden administration to handle COVID-19 testing and yet, long lines and lack of testing kits are an increasing problem as, according to HHS, as of December only $10 billion of the funding is left.
Last March, the Biden administration allocated $47.8 billion “to carry out activities to detect, diagnose, trace, and monitor SARS–CoV–2 and COVID–19 infections” in what was touted as the American Rescue Plan.
But, due to the spike in cases as the Omicron variant spreads through the nation, the White House may be considering asking for more funding to address the testing need as much of the initial billions have already been spent.
“Are we going to have more than $10 billion worth of needs and costs? (With) COVID, especially regarding testing, there’s a strong chance we will, depending on, again, where Omicron takes us,” U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra told reporters on Dec. 14, according to Reuters.
Since then, with a three-fold increase in the average for new daily cases, a 7-day average for new tests hit the 1,769,532 mark on Dec. 23, according to Fox News.
(Video: Fox News)
Back in April 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program allocated $25 billion to “research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID–19 tests.”
“The roughly $73 billion allocated through these massive economic stimulus plans has been partly doled out to states, which can then use the money to distribute tests for local residents,” Fox News explained.
Americans are seeing “relentless lines to get tested” due to Biden’s testing shortage.
Another broken Biden promise! pic.twitter.com/MnstQ0TBgl
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 31, 2021
Last month, Massachusetts announced that it would be purchasing 2.1 million at-home tests which would be “delivered to 102 towns with the highest percentage of families below the poverty level.”
Similarly, Connecticut announced last week that it will be purchasing three million at-home tests using federal funds.
“It’s not enough. It’s clearly not enough. If we’d have known, we’d have gone harder, quicker if we could have,” President Joe Biden told governors last week after announcing that 500 million at-home tests would be made available to Americans.
In a late December report, Vanity Fair claimed the administration rejected “a blueprint for how to avoid what is happening at this very moment—endless lines of desperate Americans clamoring for tests” which would have provided 732 million rapid tests a month. Biden has denied this was the case.
The Biden administration repeatedly ignored recommendations to order more COVID tests.
The testing shortage is on them.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) December 27, 2021
In a December 29 press release, the Department of Health & Human Services boasted:
This is part of the Biden Administration’s commitment to increasing access to COVID-19 testing. Last week, President Biden announced new actions to ensure Americans have access to free testing, including convenient, at-home tests. He committed to purchase half a billion at-home tests to be provided to Americans for free this winter, starting in January, and to stand up new federal testing sites across the country. Additionally, there are now 20,000 free testing sites across the U.S., four times as many at-home tests available to Americans than were available this summer, and free at-home tests are already being made available at key community sites, such as community health centers and rural clinics.
In addition to all the funds allocated and already spent, the White House announced in December that private health insurers would be required to reimburse the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests, for their 150 million customers. In addition, they would have to make 50 million tests available for free for the uninsured.
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