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New spending law includes Zika cash for uninsured

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A new federal law, the Zika Response and Preparedness Act, provides $75 million in Zika virus response funding for states, U.S. territories, Native American tribes and tribal organizations affected by active or local transmissions of Zika.

Related: Obama, McConnell share rare common aims as Congress leaders meet

The states and other organizations that get the money can use some of it to pay for medical care for people who are uninsured or underinsured, according to the bill text.

The funding can be used to “reimburse the costs of health care for health conditions related to the Zika virus, other than costs that are covered by private health insurance,” according to the text.

Congress included a total of $1.1 billion in Zika response funding in H.R. 5325, a temporary spending bill that President Obama signed into law Thursday.

The full, formal name of the law is the “Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act.”

The law lets the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a number of federal agencies continue operating into the 2017 federal fiscal year while Congress works to pass formal fiscal year 2017 budget and appropriations measures.

The 2017 federal fiscal year starts Saturday.

The Zika sections of the new law aim specific amounts of funding at specific agencies and activities.

The bill provides $394 million for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for CDC-wide activities and program support. The CDC is supposed to use $44 million of the cash to replenish a Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement program that was used to pay for Zika response activities before Obama signed H.R. 5325.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is supposed to get $152 million to pay for basic Zika research, and research on efforts to fight other diseases spread by mosquitoes and other disease “vectors,” both inside and outside the United States.

The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund is supposed to get $387 million to respond to the Zika virus, conditions related to the virus, and other vector-borne diseases.

The new law also gives the CDC the ability to work outside the usual federal hiring rules to hire Zika-response team personnel.

Another, unrelated provision continues federal support for the federal life insurance programs for military personnel and veterans.

Related:

Glaxo proposes global body to tackle outbreaks like Zika, Ebola

Zika virus fears spur diagnostics race as women seek testing

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