Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) shows CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield the total cost of a coronavirus test.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) shows Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Robert Redfield the total cost of a coronavirus test. (Image: screenshot/Katie Porter/Twitter)

'I Did the Math': Katie Porter Gets Trump CDC Head to Commit to Making Coronavirus Testing Free

"We live in a world where 33% of Americans put off medical treatment last year, and we have $1,133 expense just for testing for the coronavirus."

Eoin Higgins

Democratic firebrand Rep. Katie Porter on Thursday extracted a commitment from Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Robert Redfield to use his authority under federal regulations to waive the cost of coronavirus testing for all Americans. 

"I did the math," said Porter, holding up a whiteboard on which she wrote the associated costs to the total $1,331 bill.

"We live in a world where 40% of Americans can't even afford a $400 unexpected expense," said Porter. "We live in a world where 33% of Americans put off medical treatment last year, and we have $1,133 expense just for testing for the coronavirus."

Noting that the prohibitive expense of the test could discourage poorer Americans from getting tested, Porter demanded Redfield use his legal authority under the Code of Federal Regulations to waive the cost. 

After a back and forth in which Porter called Redfield's attempts to avoid committing to covering the cost "not good enough," the California Democrat finally got Redfield to commit to using his authority under 82 CFR 6975 to waive the costs of testing. 

Watch the full exchange:

Progressives praised the California Democrat's latest standoff with a Trump administration official and noted that Porter and Redfield's exchange had real-world, positive consequences for the country. 

"Representative Katie Porter just got CDC director Robert Redfield to commit to making coronavirus testing free for anyone regardless of insurance," tweeted the Atlantic's James Hamblin. "That's big."

Crooked Media's Priyanka Aribindi simply stated her admiration. 

"Katie Porter is fucking phenomenal," said Aribindi.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Dems to Biden: Overhaul Drone Program That Has Killed Thousands of Civilians

"In too many instances, U.S. drone strikes have instead led to unintended and deadly consequences—killing civilians and increasing anger towards the United States."

Brett Wilkins ·


War With Russia Over Ukraine 'Last Thing' US Needs, Say Progressives

Urging diplomacy over violence, foreign policy experts say "Biden's failure to acknowledge Russia's legitimate security concerns has led to the present impasse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Asked About Black Voters, McConnell Says Quiet, Racist Part Very Loud

"The othering of Americans who aren't white was never a 'quiet part,'" said Rep. Ilhan Omar, "it has always been loud and painful for everyone who has experienced it."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Basic Human Right': Bowman, Markey Unveil Affordable Energy Bill

Sen. Ed Markey called the proposal "the ambitious and comprehensive legislation we need to help ensure the health and safety of American families and support a just transition away from fossil fuel consumption."

Julia Conley ·


Heavily Polluted Louisiana Community Asks EPA to Step In

"Louisiana has failed to protect fenceline communities, including St. John residents, from the harms of highly polluting facilities," said one local advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo