New Report: Poll Shows Broad Bipartisan Support for Paid Family and Sick Leave, Free Access to Health Care to Mitigate Effects of Coronavirus

New report calls for more aggressive government action to reduce vulnerability and help “level the curve” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the United States, new polling shows that voters across party lines want the government to take more robust steps to protect the physical and financial health of every resident. The survey, published Monday by Data for Progress and The Justice Collaborative Institute in a report on the “Care Economy,” finds popular support among likely voters for the following policies:

  • universal free testing for the coronavirus — 76% support; 
  • universal free access to any FDA-approved vaccine that is developed — 75% support;
  • free comprehensive care without out-of-pocket costs for monthly premiums, copays, or deductibles — 53% support;
  • paid family leave for all workers whose children are diagnosed with the coronavirus or whose children’s schools are closed due to the coronavirus — 68% support;
  • paid sick leave for all workers — 66% support.

The report — by Kyle Barry, Senior Legal Counsel at The Justice Collaborative; Sean McElwee, Executive Director at Data for Progress; and Jason Ganz, Chief Technology Officer at Data for Progress — is the first prong of an “Emergency Action Plan” launched by Data for Progress and The Justice Collaborative in response to coronavirus. The polling “results show that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—the relief bill that the House passed early Saturday and that President Trump has agreed to sign—should go much further on some proposals, especially with respect to paid sick leave,” the report says.

“Instead of government policies that support universal stability, we have 27.5 million people without health insurance,” the authors write. “Many Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, just one illness or job loss away from financial ruin. One in five Americans cannot afford their monthly bills and 40 percent lack the savings to cover an unexpected $400 expense (even with insurance, the average out-of-pocket cost for one emergency room visit is $500). On any given night, more than half a million people in the United States are unhoused. Millions more are locked in crowded, unsanitary jails and prisons without access to quality medical care.”

The report calls for swift government action to give all residents the means to partake in the “social distancing” necessary to “level the curve” of the pandemic. These measures would provide necessary testing and health care without concern for cost, allow people to stay home sick and miss work while still being able to pay rent, and allow people to care for their children when school is cancelled and school lunch programs are shut down.

“The coronavirus outbreak is on pace to be a humanitarian catastrophe of immense proportions,” said Jason Ganz, one of the report’s authors and the Chief Technology Officer at Data for Progress. “It is an absolute moral necessity that the government uses every tool available to reduce both the toll of the virus itself and the economic impact on the American people. These policies — free testing and treatment as well as guaranteed sick leave for all workers — are just the beginning of what will be needed to address the crisis.”