ACLA Response to WSJ’s Op-Ed on The High Cost of Constant Covid Testing
The following is ACLA’s submitted response to the Wall Street Journal’s June 6, 2022 op-ed on the high cost of constant COVID-19 testing.
The June 6 op-ed paints a misleading picture of the clinical laboratory industry amid a once-in-a-generation public health crisis, and glosses over the instrumental role lab professionals continue to play in ensuring Americans have the critical health information only a lab test can provide.
A strong bipartisan commitment early on from Congress and the Administration for test coverage without cost-sharing was critical to broad patient access and the industry’s ability to scale testing while continuing routine non-pandemic testing. Contrary to what the op-ed suggests, levels of Medicare reimbursement are typically a ceiling – and not a floor – for commercial payers, and Medicaid rates are often lower.
Clinical labs have long been the backbone of our public health response. The simple swab of a patient’s nasal passages belies the complexity of developing and validating a new diagnostic test for a previously unknown pathogen and rapidly scaling a system – ensuring a stable workforce, procuring materials, running millions of tests, and delivering results. Clinical labs mobilized and grew capacity, responding to repeated COVID-19 surges. And they did this while processing routine tests for patients with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer – tests that inform many of life’s most important health care decisions.
Dismissing the importance of this reimbursement only undermines the commonsense need to maintain the nation’s diagnostic testing infrastructure and the importance of a diagnosis for healthcare decision making.
Susan Van Meter, President of the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA)