The Trump administration announced plans Friday to speed up coronavirus testing, introducing an emergency hotline for companies and private laboratories developing quicker tests and seems on a path to a multi-billion-dollar federal plan with Congress amid reports the president will declare a national emergency later today. 

"I hope he does it, it's the right thing to do, it will free up states and local communities to act more aggressively," Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif. 7th District) told Cheddar on Friday. 

The administration is catching up to warnings health officials have been making for weeks about the United States's lack of preparedness for what is now a pandemic. Bera, a physician himself, said the new measures will allow community health centers taking care of Medicaid patients to be reimbursed for telemedicine. 

"If you can manage [sick patients] using technology, using telehealth, telemedicine and they can stay at home, that is actually a good thing, that will help slow the spread," he said. 

Though telemedicine may help treat patients without potentially infecting those they come in contact with, a lack of test kits will impede physicians’ ability to track patients. 

"What I’ve suggested to the administration is, look, if South Korea can do it, pick up the phone, call the Korean company that’s making these tests and see if you can’t just license those tests and get it sent over here if it’s taking so long for us to do it," he said. 

While health workers attempt to slow the spread of the virus, politicians are still at work on a bill, which appeared to hit a roadblock today over disagreements about paid sick leave. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating the plan, which House Democrats are expected to vote on today. 

"We're told that they're pretty close," Bera said. "Workers, families, those hourly wage folks, they're going to be hurt immediately. This is America, we don't let people fall down like that."

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