James urges equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine

NEW YORK — On Friday, state Attorney General Letitia James and 13 fellow state attorneys sent a letter urging Congress to allocate funding and codify coverage protections to guarantee all people living in the U.S. are able to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.

They called on Congress to codify an interim rule providing the vaccine to Medicare recipients at no cost, to properly fund programs for the uninsured to cover administrative fees and to increase financial support for Medicaid, a press release said.

“An end to the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, but we cannot rid this disease without equitable vaccine access,” James said in a statement.

“We must ensure there are no economic barriers to people receiving this lifesaving vaccine, especially those in communities most devastated by the pandemic. Every person in this country deserves free and fast access to the vaccines, and we remain committed to ensuring that happens.”

Stefanik requests solution to pension crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) and fellow Republicans sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting that any upcoming COVID-19 relief package include assistance to at-risk multiemployer pension plans.

 

“Many pension plans are facing dire funding shortfalls and the federal backstop that ensures these plans will soon run dry, putting workers’ livelihood and retirement at risk in the North Country and nationwide," Stefanik said in a statement.

"The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to exacerbate these shortfalls, so a failure to address this issue now will only create deeper problems in the years to come. I am proud to join my colleagues in urging our leaders in the House and Senate to come together and prioritize the inclusion of measures that will address this looming crisis.”

Stefanik supports permanent expansion of telehealth coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville), together with House and Senate colleagues, sent a letter to Congressional leadership requesting that the body permanently waive or remove geographic restrictions on originating sites so that a Medicare beneficiary’s ability to receive telehealth services is no longer based on where they live.

The representatives also requested that Congress permanently authorize federally qualified heath centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics to provide distant site telehealth services and allow patients to utilize telehealth inside of their homes.

“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our providers and patients have faced numerous challenges,” Stefanik said in a statement. “I have been a consistent advocate for our federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and telehealth providers, who have been instrumental in addressing the needs of our rural communities and are an essential component of the North Country health care landscape.

"I have fought to deliver critical funding to our hospitals and rural health centers to ensure that they have the resources necessary to continue providing care. In sending this letter to leadership, I am once again urging a permanent expansion of telehealth coverage, which has proven to be an effective method of treating patients, especially in our more rural and isolated areas."

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