Ocasio-Cortez Urges Biden to Expand At-Home Test Program for Multifamily Homes

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) is leading an effort to urge President Joe Biden to address oversights in his administration’s program to allow people to order free at-home COVID tests.

“[W]e write requesting your attention on a salient issue that has arisen in the distribution of the testing kits to multifamily households,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in her letter to Biden. The letter was signed by 36 members of Congress, including members of the progressive “squad” like Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts) and Jamaal Bowman (D-New York).

The lawmakers demanded that the Biden administration resolve issues that prevented families ordering tests through the free at-home program.

Last week, President Biden’s administration put up a websiteAnd a hotlineThis program allows households to order up four at-home tests. Biden announced this program. just after detailing his administration’s plan to purchase 500 million at-home tests to distribute to Americans, in addition to a plan to buy 500 million tests that he outlined last month.

The website and hotline were launched shortly thereafter. many peopleApartment dwellers or multifamily residents reported that they could not place an order for their homes as someone else in the complex or building had already ordered the tests. People who live above retail establishments and in basement apartments also reported not being allowed to order tests.

The legislators noted in their letter that constituents have been contacting the lawmakers about the issue.

“Approaching a rollout process with the aim of equity and accessibility requires the acknowledgement of households residing outside of single-family units,” the lawmakers wrote. They went on to point out that people living in multifamily buildings and people living in multigenerational family homes are at the highest risk of contracting COVID, making it especially paradoxical that these families wouldn’t be able to access the free tests.

Even when people are able to successfully order tests for their household, four test kits often aren’t enough to cover everyone living under one roof. Many families, especially non-white ones, have had to order tests for their children. more than four individuals livingIn their homes. This may make it more difficult for these communities to receive free at home tests. As a result, people of color are at greater risk of contracting the virus from lack of access to health care.

These inequalities were rectified by the lawmakers asking Biden to direct program officers to account for different types residences. They also recommended that families specify the number of members of their household in order to order the right number of tests.

The Biden administration has faced widespread criticism for its handling of the pandemic during the president’s first year in office. This month, AdministrationA program that only allowed people with private insurance to receive reimbursement for at-home COVID testing was under fire. Critics pointed out that the program would not only prohibit uninsured individuals from participating, but also create an unnecessary barrier for people who are insured, by requiring them contact insurance companies to request reimbursement.