Durbin Slams Trump Administration's COVID-19 Response, Urges Senate To Protect Health Insurance Of Unemployed Americans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today slammed the Trump Administration for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and spoke about the importance of helping unemployed and uninsured Americans, hospitals and health clinics, state and local governments, and small businesses. Yesterday marked 200,000 American deaths from COVID-19.

“I listen as spokespeople for the Administration talk about the wonderful job that they've done in defending America from the coronavirus. The numbers don't back them up at all. The United States of America has 4.5 percent of the global population…and yet as of this morning we have 20 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the world,” said Durbin. “The President at various times has said, when asked about the deaths, ‘it is what it is.’ That's an off-the-cuff dismissal of the issue which is beneath the dignity of any leader of either political party.”

Durbin also spoke about his efforts to help workers who have lost their job or been furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic stay on their employers’ health care plans and called for the inclusion of federal COBRA funding in the next coronavirus relief package.

“I'm introducing legislation this week with Senator Cortez Masto and others to help workers who have been furloughed or laid off during the pandemic from losing their health insurance. I can't imagine a worse situation, in the midst of a public health crisis, to lose your health insurance coverage,” Durbin said. “We need to do what is necessary to help these families, businesses, cities, and states get back on their feet.”

Nearly 30 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits, with an estimated 10 to 15 million having also lost their employer-sponsored health insurance.  Many unemployed Americans would prefer to remain on their employer health plan, known as COBRA, but it is often prohibitively expensive—on average, $1,700 per month for a family.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.