Four Harder Bills Pass House as Part of Latest Coronavirus Relief Bill
Four bills introduced by Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) were included in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and passed the House today. The bills will increase the number of doctors in California, ensure greater transparency in health insurance for unemployed people, provide more fresh fruit and vegetables for low-income kids, and protect the families of fallen servicemembers. The HEROES Act will also provide another round of stimulus payments, provide financial support to struggling state and local governments, and ensure nursing homes can protect their residents from the Coronavirus.
"Working across the aisle helped us get our important bills into the final package -- we're talking about more doctors, better health care access for unemployed people, and support for our farmers and the families of fallen servicemembers," said Rep. Harder. "I don't agree with every provision in the HEROES ACT but I'll keep working with folks on both sides of the aisle to get our priorities into the final agreement we'll negotiate with the Senate."
The HEROES Act contains four bills Rep. Harder wrote and introduced, including:
Stopping Doctor Shortages Act -- This bipartisan bill would close a loophole in federal regulations that prevents many doctors in California and Texas from qualifying for student loan repayment programs. The California Medical Association (CMA) estimates the bill could bring 10,000 physicians to the state over the next decade.
Improving Awareness of Health Coverage Options Act -- This bill will ensure that people who are laid off are aware of alternative coverage options. Currently, group health plans must inform covered employees of COBRA health care options in preparation for possible layoffs. This bill will add information about Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange options to the standard form the Department of Labor makes available to help businesses comply with the requirement.
Fresh Produce for Kids in Need Act -- Also a bipartisan bill, this legislation would suspend a bureaucratic requirement that prevents parents from picking up fresh produce from elementary schools on behalf of their children. Since schools are closed, parents of kids enrolled in the program are allowed to pick up fresh produce, but their children must be in attendance. This extra bureaucratic requirement makes it harder for parents to get the produce on the way home from work and risks exposing children to the Coronavirus.
Protecting Families of Fallen Servicemembers Act -- Rep. Harder's third bipartisan bill included in the package will allow the families of fallen and critically injured servicemembers to end their phone, cable, or internet contract without being financially penalized. The bill previously passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support.