More than 3 million people worldwide are currently living with COVID infections and more than 200,000 Americans have died from the disease, according to the World Health Organization.
Many states have limited access to basic healthcare, leaving them with no option but to turn to public health workers, who are often charged for services such as air conditioning and cleaning.
“The problem is the federal government, not states, is not providing a solution to the problem of COVID,” said John Rolf, a professor at Boston University who has been researching the outbreak.
Rolf has been writing a book called The Green Revolution: The Rise of the World’s Most Advanced Health System.
“States have to be able to find a way to put in place the systems that are needed to do what they’re supposed to do.”
The Green Revolutions, a $500 million plan from Massachusetts to expand access to medical care to 1 million people in 10 counties that began in October, was funded by an initiative that would help state governments expand medical care.
The state of Connecticut, which has had limited access for years to basic medical care since the Great Depression, is among those states that has been forced to make cuts in the program to address the crisis.
“This is a very good step forward,” Rolf said.
“It’s a real win for the public health sector, and a win for private sector players, including private insurers.”
The plan is expected to cost the state more than $200 million, but it has been funded largely through state grants, Rolf added.
“We have no choice but to use this money for health care and to support private sector investments in health care,” said Gov.
Dan Malloy of Connecticut in a statement.
“While some states have cut back, Connecticut’s investment in health is going to remain steadfast.”
The initiative will provide more than 5 million health care workers in the state with additional health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, the most extensive federal program for health coverage.
The program will help states make up for lost federal funding, but experts say the program has not had a large impact on COVID infection rates.
While there has been an uptick in infections among older Americans, the trend has been in the opposite direction among children, who have been more susceptible.
Rival medical groups have criticized the program, arguing that the state is spending too much on the plan without enough funding for medical care and the programs needed to meet the needs of the elderly.
“If you look at the cost of the plan, we’ve already spent more than it should be spending, and we have to make some tough choices,” said Paul Mays, a spokesman for the American Medical Association.
“I think the governor’s point is that we need to be paying for these programs in order to be prepared.”
The program also is expected for some counties to be expanded, with an estimated 5.5 million people expected to receive free care, according the American College of Physicians.
That would represent a 40% increase in the number of people receiving care in the first year, according a recent report by the advocacy group.
The Green Rebuilding initiative is one of many programs that could be expanded to help states combat the crisis, but the plan is not expected to come to fruition in time for the end of the year.
While some states are seeking to bolster access to care through the health law, others are trying to reduce costs through measures such as the state-level expansion of Medicaid.
And some states, including New York and Pennsylvania, are looking to expand their programs.
The federal government will not provide funds to states for COVID programs in the future, meaning states will have to create their own systems to provide coverage to the uninsured.
The plan also will not include a direct funding boost for state health programs.
“In general, the federal contribution is just not enough to get a dent in the costs of health care for the people who need it the most,” said Peter B. Hart, a research fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied the outbreak in the United States.
“As the virus has gotten more widespread, it’s been hard to find funding for the kinds of services that are necessary.”