Jan 17, 2022 2 mins, 36 secs

“These are the workers facing the virus, and we are asking them to buy high-quality masks and pay for rapid tests?” Schneider said.

The White House also announced that private health insurance companies would be required to reimburse up to eight at-home Covid-19 tests a month, and later this week the Biden administration will make up to four tests available to U.S.

President Biden also said Thursday his administration was planning to make “high-quality” masks available to the public at no charge but declined to offer details, including when the masks would be available.

Still, workers and experts have expressed frustration that the state and federal governments are not moving more quickly and transparently to provide rapid tests and high-quality filtration masks, such as the N95 and the KN95, to residents at low cost or for free, especially in recent months as case and hospitalization numbers spiked amid the very infectious omicron variant.

He said it has been hard to acquire tests, and the cost is difficult to swallow because his chronic illnesses make it impossible for him to work. .

Having enough supplies for himself is one challenge, but he would also like to have rapid tests available for the various home health aides who come to his apartment — especially after one came despite being ill. .

The hope, Khanna said, was for the federal government to use the Defense Production Act to expand the number of rapid tests and masks available, and then provide them free to every person in the U.S.

Even allowing people to be reimbursed for tests they purchased through their health insurance companies does not go far enough, he said, noting that there are many here who have neither health care coverage nor the time to tangle with their insurance companies.

“A lot of people don’t have the cash to pay up front and wait for reimbursement,” said Khanna, adding that even he had waited months to be reimbursed for tests that were covered by his insurance.

The specifics of that announcement remain unclear, but it will likely come shortly after the Biden administration begins distributing the free at-home tests — up to four per household

is too high compared with the available supply, said Feigl-Ding, who said that he knew people who had bought huge numbers of tests because they wanted to use them for parties.  

Walmart and Kroger said they were raising the prices of rapid tests after an agreement they had with the Biden administration to sell tests at cost expired. 

Tricia Moriarty, a spokesperson for Walmart, said that the company was one of only a few retailers that participated in the White House program to sell Abbott BinaxNow tests at cost for three months

At Kroger, another company that had agreed to keep its prices down, spokesperson Kristal Howard also emphasized that the grocery chain was one of three companies that had reduced the cost of rapid tests

“Of note, we fulfilled our commitment to the Biden Administration to sell at cost for 100 days, and that pricing program has now phased out and precommitment retail pricing ($23.99) has been reinstated,” Howard said in an email

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