Despite the White House\u0026#039;s claim that its new Covid-19 strategy, unveiled Thursday, is \u0022pulling out all the stops\u0022 to get the pandemic under control, public health experts and progressives are slamming the Biden administration for its \u0022grossly inadequate\u0022 plan to push health insurance companies to reimburse people for rapid over-the-counter tests—a plan that will do nothing to encourage frequent testing, critics said.\r\n\r\n\u0022This is where the U.S. is an international outlier. Making testing\u0026nbsp;free is clearly a good idea.\u0022\r\n\r\nPresident Joe Biden announced that people with private insurance will be required to submit receipts to their insurance companies to be reimbursed for tests that currently cost between $14 and $34. Retroactive reimbursement for tests people have already taken prior to the plan being released will not be permitted; the administration said it plans to release more guidelines and restrictions for the plan by January 15.\r\n\r\nFor the 28 million Americans who don\u0026#039;t have private health insurance, the administration said it would distribute 50 million free tests—covering fewer than two per person—through community health centers and rural clinics in addition to 20,000 free testing sites across the country—a proposal that is \u0022still not adequate\u0022 for uninsured Americans and \u0022creates a two-tier level of access to tests,\u0022 according to researcher and physician Dr. Adam Gaffney.\u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\nThe plan puts the U.S. far behind other wealthy countries, several of which have for months offered free Covid-19 tests to residents as a way of helping to stop the spread of the virus, with governments taking on the burden of purchasing the tests and then distributing them to the public.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022This is where the U.S. is an international outlier,\u0022 Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Washington Post. \u0022Making testing\u0026nbsp;free is clearly a good idea.\u0022\r\n\r\nBritain and Singapore both deliver free rapid tests to people\u0026#039;s homes, and Germany began offering all residents free rapid tests in March. People in India can access Covid-19 tests for about $3 each, making the frequent testing needed for people to keep track of their health status more feasible for many than it is in the United States.\r\n\r\nInstead, wrote Matt Stoller of the American Economic Liberties Project, Americans\u0026#039; rapid tests will \u0022come with more bureaucracy.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn addition to \u0022making people hassle with insurance\u0022 companies, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said, the insurance reimbursement scheme could lead manufacturers to charge more for tests, making them less accessible for many.\r\n\r\n\u0022If the consumer is thinking, \u0026#039;I will get reimbursed,\u0026#039; they won\u0026#039;t really care about the price,\u0022 Ge Bai, a professor of health policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the New York Times Thursday.\r\n\r\nThe administration did not limit how much healthcare providers could charge for Covid-19 tests when it required insurers to cover tests at doctor\u0026#039;s offices and testing sites—allowing some providers to bill thousands of dollars for tests. The White House has yet to say whether it will cap the amount that insurance companies will have to cover for rapid over-the-counter tests.\r\n\r\n\u0022We need this administration to be courageous. This is not it at all,\u0022 said Dr. Uché Blackstock, founder of Advancing Health Equity. \u0022Rapid at-home tests and high-quality masks should be free.\u0022\r\n\r\nScientist Dr. Lucky Tran accused the White House of \u0022pandering to insurance companies and the market,\u0022 while health researcher and physician Dr. Eric Reinhart said Biden\u0026#039;s attempt to address a public health crisis within the confines of the for-profit health insurance industry would be \u0022a disaster.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nImmunologist Dr. Rick Bright, who issued early warnings about the pandemic to the Trump administration in January 2020, pointed out that demand for free Covid-19 tests is high; a free at-home test program introduced in New Hampshire and Washington state quickly ran out of supplies late last month.\r\n\r\n\u0022People want to get tested, but tests are too expensive,\u0022 said Bright. \u0022[The] federal government should make testing affordable for everyone.\u0022\r\n\r\nOcasio-Cortez suggested the insurance reimbursement plan offers the latest argument in favor of Medicare for All, including #M4A in her tweet about the issue.\r\n\r\n\u0022We can do better,\u0022 tweeted the congresswoman.