Hospitals and our frontline workers are the backbone of our community. Now, more than ever, we need to support them. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, our hospital systems have been strained to a degree that will put many of them at risk of closing.
In March 2020, our health providers entered a fiscal crisis that forced the furlough of more than 1.4 million workers in just a six-week period. As a result, Congress approved some solutions that will provide temporary relief in the form of grants. However, the relief they provided was not nearly enough.
According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals across the country will lose more than two-hundred billion dollars by the end of June. This is just the tip of the iceberg as these numbers will continue to grow as flu season and the possibility of a COVID-19 resurgence comes again this fall.
Here in Iowa, our hospitals have supported our communities in so many ways. From large urban centers to suburban communities to our rural counties, our hospitals are the key to a thriving community.
Hospitals and other healthcare providers accessed advanced payments through the CARES Act Medicare Loan Fund to bridge losses. Loan forgiveness is vitally important and is much more critical now, given the fact that hospital losses have far exceeded the relief from Cares Act grants. The losses continue, as the ramp up is gradual.
We need Congress to stand up and support our hospitals by forgiving the Cares Act Medicare loans that have been issued. The cost of this pandemic has hit many sectors of the economy and our health care system is no exception. We need Congress to act and act fast to protect our hospitals and our frontline workers.