House Democrats' COVID-19 relief bill: 8 things to know

House Democrats last week released the full 591-page text of their $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, which includes funds to extend vaccine distribution and funding for state and local governments.

Parts of the legislation, released in full Feb. 19, had been distributed in pieces out of individual committees, but the full text was packaged by the House Budget Committee. 

The legislation closely resembles President Joe Biden's rescue plan, outlined by the president in a Jan. 14 speech. 

Eight things to know:

1. Grants for rural health. The bill will establish a pilot program that will give emergency grants to rural healthcare providers. Providers can use the money to increase capacity to administer COVID-19 vaccines, purchase supplies to increase surge capacity, reimburse for COVID-19 costs or increase telehealth capabilities.

2. Vaccine funding. The bill allocates funding to support increased vaccine distribution and support vaccine confidence activities.

3. Support of Defense Production Act. The bill allocates funds to support use of the Defense Production Act to purchase, produce and repair medical supplies and equipment needed to combat the pandemic. 

4. Testing, contact-tracing. The bill allocates money toward COVID-19 mitigation efforts, including testing and contact-tracing efforts, as well as SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing and surveillance. 

5. Public health jobs program. The package establishes a public health workforce, which is a program to fund 100,000 public health jobs. The workers would perform vital tasks such as vaccine outreach and contact-tracing. 

6. Cost of getting a vaccine.The package bars Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP insurers from applying cost-sharing to members for any costs related to vaccine administration. It requires insurers to pay for the vaccine. 

7. Federal wage increase. The proposal includes increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, more than double the current federal wage of $7.25 per hour. This is one of the items President Biden promised while on the campaign trail. 

8. Local aid. The relief package would allocate $350 billion to help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls.

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