LIVE: Andy Slavitt, a former Medicaid and Medicare official, talks about the coronavirus’ effect on health care

Slavitt (KPRC)

Join The Texas Tribune at noon April 24 for an interview with Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under former President Barack Obama, conducted by the Tribune’s health care reporter Edgar Walters.

Watch live:

Slavitt will answer questions about how the U.S. health care system is coping with the novel coronavirus pandemic. We’ll discuss the effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on Texans without Medicaid or Medicare, the efforts of President Donald Trump’s administration to combat the spread of the virus and the pandemic’s long-term consequences on the health care economy.

As the novel coronavirus outbreak has spread across the U.S. in recent weeks, Texans in nearly every community have felt the effects. State and local leaders have issued shelter-in-place orders to enforce social distancing practices to curb the spread of the virus, effectively closing many local businesses and leaving many Texans unemployed.

Hospitals are adding more beds in preparation for an expected rush of COVID-19 patients, as seen in states like New York and California, and health care workers are struggling to get the equipment they need to protect themselves from the spread of the virus.

The Trump Administration has extended federal distancing guidelines after initial resistance to recognize the seriousness of the threat of the virus and receiving criticism for being slow to roll out extensive testing for the virus.

Recent models have shown that without extreme social distancing measures, a surge of hospitalizations that would overwhelm medical capacity in metro areas this spring and summer and others show that upwards of 100,000 Americans could die even with some of the restrictions that had already been put into motion.

While the state comptroller has assured that critical health care agencies, such as the Children's Health Insurance Program, Foundation School Program and Medicaid will have the resources they need to respond the the outbreak, the shuttering of businesses around the state has put the state’s economy into a recession.

Slavitt oversaw Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Health Insurance Marketplace programs under President Barack Obama. He is the founder and a general partner in Town Hall Ventures, which invests in innovative health care businesses. Slavitt also serves as chairman of the nonprofit United States of Care, which focuses on increasing access to affordable health care, and as a senior adviser on health policy to the Bipartisan Policy Center.