White House’s test reimbursement plan both late and lackluster

Starting this weekend, according to an Associated Press article in Tuesday’s Sun-Gazette, at-home tests for COVID-19 will be covered by insurance.

Later this month, the article notes, at-home tests will be available by mail and the administration also is scaling up rapid-testing sites in regions experiencing surges in transmission.

President Joe Biden first announced the requirement late last year. Details were scant on the program until this past week.

The rhetoric from this White House has always emphasized how serious the challenges of this pandemic are, and how serious other challenges the U.S. faces are. Many of the policies implemented — both in their pace and their lack of clarity — have been jarring in how they fail to reflect that seriousness.

This pandemic already was the critical challenge facing the U.S. when Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021. A measure as simple and non-controversial as this should not have taken nearly a year to implement.

And yet, like the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the relocation of Afghans who assisted U.S. forces in the years of efforts in that country, the administration’s attention to important matters comes significantly later than it should and with execution more flawed and inadequate than the additional time should justify.

Insurance companies will not be required to offer reimbursement for tests purchased before Jan. 15 — another opportunity missed by this administration to demonstrate the urgency and focus they themselves say the pandemic demands.

The president and his White House need to understand that actions matter more than words — and slow-moving policies with little detail until the last minutes communicate an entirely different message than speeches about the daunting scope posed by the risks and threats Americans face.


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