Biden plans to end public health emergency on May 11

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prior to his second COVID-19 booster vaccination at the South Court Auditorium of the Executive Office Building Eisenhower at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 30, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

The Biden administration plans to end the Covid public health emergency this spring, which would mark a major turning point in the US response to the pandemic.

The White House, in a statement Monday, said it would end on May 11 the national and public health emergencies that the Trump administration first declared in 2020.

The statement released by the Office of Management and Budget expressed the White House’s strong opposition to Republican legislation in the House of Representatives to immediately end emergency declarations.

Public and national health emergencies have allowed hospitals and nursing homes to respond more flexibly in the face of a spike in patients during the Covid outbreak.

Medicaid enrollment also increased because Congress essentially barred states from withdrawing people from the program, citing a public health emergency.

One provision Stuck in federal spending legislation passed in December allowing states to begin withdrawing people from Medicaid in April.

The Department of Health and Human Services has promised to notify states 60 days before the end of the emergency to give the health care system time to prepare to return to normal.

The public health emergency has been extended every 90 days since January 2020 as the virus has evolved into new variants and repeated curves over the past three years. HHS just extended the state of emergency in the first day of this month.

The OMB said abruptly ending emergencies in the manner set forth in Republican law would “create widespread chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system.”

According to the OMB statement, ending claims without giving hospitals time to adjust would result in “disruption in care and delayed payment, and many facilities across the country would be lost.” collect”.

It will also “sow confusion and chaos” in its narrowing of Medicaid coverage protections, OMB said.

Although emergency declarations remain in place, the federal response to the pandemic has shrunk as funding has dried up. Congress has failed for months to pass a White House request for $22.5 billion in additional funding for the Covid response.

The White House is also planning to move the Covid vaccine to the private market in the near future, although the exact timing remains unclear. This means that the cost of the vaccine will be covered by the patient’s insurance policies, not the federal government.

Moderna and Pfizer both say they can charge up to $130 per dose of vaccinefour times what the federal government pays.

Covid has killed more than 1 million people in the US since 2020. The number of deaths has dropped significantly since the peak of the pandemic in the winter of 2021, but nearly 4,000 people are still succumbing to the virus each week. .


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