APhA: Biden $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Plan is Strong Start to Recovery From Pandemic

In a statement by the APhA, Scott J. Knoer, executive vice president and CEO of APhA, noted the association’s support for this first step by the Biden administration on the road to recovery from the pandemic.

On Thursday, President-elect Joseph Biden announced the details of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rescue package that would focus on speeding up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and on providing support for families and businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.1,2

Called the American Rescue Plan, the proposal sets the goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses by Biden’s 100th day in office and opening schools by the spring. Additionally, the plan delivers more economic stimulus to support the economy while the country continues to fight against COVID-19.1,2

“We not only have an economic imperative to act now—I believe we have a moral obligation,” Biden said in a nationwide address from his transition headquarters in Delaware on Thursday evening. He also noted that he recognizes that his plan “does not come cheaply.”1

In his plan, Biden also proposes additional stimulus checks for most Americans to the sum of $1400, which would be in addition to the $600 stimulus checks that were released at the end of December 2020. In a similar effort to support American families, he also proposed a temporary boost in unemployment benefits to $400 that would extend to September, and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that would continue through September as well.1,2

The proposal also addresses some other areas of concern in regard to American families’ ability to stabilize this year. The proposal includes an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour, an expansion of paid leave for workers, and an increase in tax credits for families with children.1,2

The tax credits for families with children were specifically noted to be intended to support the return to work process for many women with children, as many families who have been hard hit by the loss of childcare, in-person schooling, and other resources, have been forced to focus their efforts on caring for their children at home during the pandemic.1

The proposal additionally calls for $350 billion in state and local government aid, $170 billion to support K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, $50 billion for COVID-19 testing efforts, and $20 billion for a national vaccine program that would partner with states, localities, and tribes.2

In a statement released by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), Scott J. Knoer, executive vice president and CEO of APhA, noted the association’s support for this first step by the Biden administration on the road to recovery from the pandemic.3

“President-elect Biden’s plan to address the pandemic is a strong start to rescue the country from the pandemic,” Knoer said in the statement. “It not only allocates billions of dollars to launch a sweeping national plan for national vaccination and testing, it also invests in public health workers for outreach and contact tracing, addresses health disparities, protects residents of long-term care facilities and workers in essential industries, and proposes billions for the administration of the vaccines.”3

Biden explained during his address that although recovery from the pandemic will take time and this proposal is only a step forward, “We’re better equipped to do this than any nation in the world.”

Biden further noted that time is of the essence.

“The crisis of human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act, and we have to act now.”1

In the statement from APhA, Knoer agreed that there is a clear element of urgency in the delivery of this aid outlined in the proposal.

“The incoming administration has stated that this is a race against time—and we agree. It is essential that this plan builds on utilizing the army of ready, willing, and able pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy interns in all practice settings to accelerate the vaccination of all Americans. Approximately 400,000 pharmacy personnel have been trained for precisely this moment—and now is the time to mobilize them,” Knoer said in the statement.

With Biden taking office on Wednesday, Knoer expressed his desire for the incoming administration to utilize the expertise of pharmacists in providing critical support for the country in the fight against the pandemic.

“We look forward to working with President-elect Biden and his administration to maximize the use of pharmacists to defeat the pandemic, and to immunize and improve the health of our nation’s most vulnerable populations,” Knoer said.

REFERENCES

  • Alonso-Zaldivar R, Barrow B. Biden unveils $9T plan to stem COVID-19 and steady economy. AP News. Jan 15, 202 https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-coronavirus-action-plan-3d8d5841bb9098a81ad9452fb2619024. Accessed Jan 15, 202
  • Franck T. Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan calls for stimulus checks, unemployment support and more. CNBC. Jan 14, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/14/biden-stimulus-package-details-checks-unemployment-minimum-wage.html. Accessed Jan 15, 2021.
  • APhA: President-Elect Biden’s COVID plan is a strong start to rescue the country from the pandemic. Washington DC: American Pharmacists Association; Jan 14, 2021. https://www.pharmacist.com/press-release/apha-president-elect-bidens-covid-plan-strong-start-rescue-country-pandemic. Accessed Jan 15, 2021.