White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on a reporter's suggestion that President Joe Biden's winter plan to expand coronavirus testing access doesn't go far enough.
During a briefing on Monday, the reporter first noted that some U.S. allies, "like Germany and U.K. and South Korea," have "basically" instituted large-scale testing "free of charge" and asked, "Why can't that be done in the United States?"
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"Well, I would say first, you know, we have eight tests that have been approved by the FDA here. We see that as the gold standard. Whether or not all of those tests would meet that standard is a question for the scientists and medical experts, but I don't suspect they would," Psaki responded. "Our objective is to continue to increase accessibility and decrease costs, and if you look at what we've done over the course of time, we've quadrupled the size of our testing plan. We've cut the costs significantly over the past few months, and this effort to push insurers are — you're able to get your tests refunded means 150 million Americans will be able to get free tests."
"That's kind of complicated, though," the reporter responded. "Why not just make them free and give them out and have them available everywhere?"
"Should we just send one out to every American? Then what happens if every American has one test? How much does that cost, and then what happens after that?" Psaki asked in response. "I think we share the same objective, which is to make them less expensive and more accessible, right? Every country is going to do that differently. And I was just noting that, again, our tests go through the FDA approval process. That's not the same process — it doesn't work that way in every single country. But what we're working to do here is build on what we've done to date and continue to build out our testing capacity because we absolutely recognize that this is a key component of fighting the virus."
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You can watch Monday's briefing in full below.