Evers administration releases COVID-19 proposed legislative package

Posted at 1:15 PM, Nov 17, 2020

WISCONSIN — Gov. Tony Evers released a package of proposals he hopes will halt the surging COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin, as the state records the highest single-day death tollon Tuesday.

The announcement of Evers' 92 COVID-19-related proposals came just before Assembly Speaker Robin Vos outlined priorities for the GOP-led legislature, but did not release any specifics.

While Vos pledged to work with Evers' administration during a press conference Tuesday, the GOP-led legislature has blocked almost every COVID-19 order issued by the governor, including the 'Safer at Home' order last spring, and the mask mandate, which is currently being debated in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Evers' proposals Tuesday aim to accomplish a broad number of objectives: improve access to healthcare, reduce the cost of critical healthcare services, help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by helping Wisconsinites stay home, provide economic protection and support, and create flexibility to support kids and families, according to the Evers administration.

Improving access to healthcare

If the legislative proposal is passed, it would require that all health insurance agencies cover telehealth services that would be covered were the services provided in-person.

The bill would also prohibit insurers from setting quantity limitations or requiring prior authorization below a 90 days supply of medications through the end of 2021.

"Unintentional or unnecessary barriers that don't account for the extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic may limit an individual’s access to necessary prescription medicines," wrote the Evers administration in their bill summary.

Under the bill, pharmacists would be able to extend most prescription refills by 30 days through the end of 2021. It would also provide the Division of Personnel Management with additional flexibility through 2021.

Reducing the cost of critical healthcare services

The number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin is rapidly rising which is why the Evers' administration wants to make sure Wisconsinites have access to any critical healthcare services that they may need without breaking the bank.

The proposed bill would ensure that Wisconsinites receive coverage for testing, diagnosis, treatment, prescriptions, and vaccines related to COVID-19.

It would also prohibit cost-sharing and prior authorization for testing, diagnosis, treatment, prescriptions, and vaccines related to COVID-19.

For workers in the medical field and other critical employees, the bill would ensure that you receive worker’s compensation benefits related to COVID-19, presuming that they received the illness from their jobs.

Help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by helping Wisconsinites stay home

In-person appearance requirements would be waived through 2021, under the proposed bill, and would allow online notaries to perform online notarization of estate planning documents (such as wills and trusts) through the end of 2021

Provide economic protection and support

The proposed legislation would also allow the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to issue an order prohibiting evictions and foreclosures through 2021.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration would be able to waive interest, penalties or payments on governmental loans and debt through the end of 2021.

The one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance would be suspended through the end of 2021, under the proposed legislation.

Evers' proposal would also allow social security disability (SSDI) recipients to receive concurrent unemployment insurance benefits.

Create flexibility to support kids and families

Finally, for students and families, the proposed legislation would waive student assessments and school report card requirements for the 2020-21 school year, and would "allow rehiring of retired annuitants and ability to reinstate licensure (including people in the last 5 years and people from out of state) through the end of 2021," according to the Evers' administration.

You can read the entire bill summary and the full bill from the Evers administration below.

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