Schumer: Feds should pay for Ebola response

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Why we need to build gateway now MORE (D-N.Y.) wants the federal government to cover the costs of containing Ebola in New York City over the last month — at a price of $20 million.

Schumer said Sunday that the state and city government should be paid back for the expensive effort to treat Dr. Craig Spencer, track down contacts and implement public health measures to calm the city of 8.4 million.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Local taxpayers should not foot the whole bill for handling this infectious disease that may have been physically present in New York City, but was truly a threat to the whole nation," Schumer told reporters Sunday.

Spencer, a 33-year-old doctor who volunteered in Sierra Leone, was released from a Manhattan hospital last week after nearly three weeks of treatment. Schumer said his care was "extremely expensive," involving about 100 workers.

Officials also racked up costs for the city-wide contact-tracing and quarantining effort. The day before he was diagnosed, Spencer had traveled by subway and via Uber, eaten at a restaurant and gone bowling.

While he has faced criticism for going in public after treating Ebola overseas, he reported no symptoms at the time and health officials maintained New Yorkers were not at risk.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been the public face of New York City’s fight against Ebola, defended Spencer last week as a model citizen and a hero.

The $20 million spent in New York City far dwarfs the $1 million spent in Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News. Dallas is the only other U.S. city to have seen an Ebola diagnosis, though its population is about one-eighth the size of New York's.

The care for one of the infected Dallas nurses, Nina Pham, cost about $110,000, according to Bloomberg News. But health experts have said the use of experimental drugs could push up costs of an Ebola treatment to more than a half-million dollars.