Watch: House Holds Coronavirus Funding Hearing

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing at 1 p.m. Eastern time on President Donald Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2021, including funding that addresses the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The memorandum announcing the hearing from Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) makes clear the Democrats plan to attack Trump’s budget, noting cuts to Health and Human Services, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The budget cuts $100 billion from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the private insurance market over 10 years,” the memo says. “The budget does not provide policy proposals or specific details, including the number of individuals whose health coverage will be impacted by the cuts.”

But members of Trump’s cabinet, including witness HHS Secretary Alex Azar, disagree, according to his prepared sworn testimony:

The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget (Budget) is built around a vision for HHS and a vision for American healthcare. We are building toward a future where HHS’s programs work better for the people we serve; where America’s healthcare system is affordable, personalized, and puts patients in control; and where our human services programs put people at the center.

The Budget reflects the Administration’s commitments to delivering on this vision and other important themes of HHS’s work: advancing a patient-centered healthcare system, protecting the lives of the American people, promoting independence, and making HHS the healthiest organization it can be.

Azar will speak at the first panel and witnesses on the second panel include: Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health; Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration; Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, and Robert R. Redfield, director of the CDC.

The coronavirus was first identified in December in Wuhan, China. To date, coronavirus infections have been reported in 41 countries including the United States.

According to the CDC the total confirmed cases in the U.S. out of 445 tested is 14.

CDC reports an additional 45 people with the virus have been “repatriated” to the U.S.

So far, 2,768 people have died from the virus around the globe.

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