The COVID-19 public health emergency that was initially implemented at the start of the pandemic in 2020 has been instantly lifted thanks to legislation supported by House Republicans. The GOP’s opposition to President Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic is evident in the bill, which won’t clear the Democratic Senate. The COVID-19 emergency will terminate on May 11, according to a statement made by Biden on Monday.
The public health declaration would be lifted immediately under the Pandemic is Over Act, which was approved by a vote of 220-210 early on Tuesday evening. This practice had allowed the federal government to create COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments and provide them for free during the pandemic.
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Additionally, it would swiftly put an end to continuous enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has kept millions of people enrolled in the public health insurance programs despite possibly having an income that was too high to qualify without a brief or long interruption in coverage.
“Joe Biden’s failed agenda, including the totalitarian COVID-19 policies of the Biden administration, would be stopped by the House majority that the American people elected. According to House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), House Republicans are attempting to get the federal government out of its chronic COVID state and will continue to fight to restore common sense to Congress.
With no time to shift the COVID-19 response to the commercial market, Biden said Tuesday night that ending the COVID-19 emergency immediately would “cause wide-ranging turmoil and uncertainty throughout the healthcare system.” According to the White House, if the bills reached Biden’s desk, he would veto them.
“This crucial wind-down would be thrown into disarray and confusion if the PHE were abruptly stopped. The White House stated in a statement Monday night that because of this uncertainty, states might lose billions of dollars in financing and tens of millions of Americans could suddenly lose their health insurance. Additionally, without enough time to retrain staff and set up new billing procedures, hospitals and nursing homes that have relied on the flexibility provided by the emergency declarations will be thrown into chaos, possibly resulting in disruptions in care and payment delays, and many facilities across the nation will experience revenue losses.
On the eve of the House vote, Biden declared that the COVID-19 national emergency and the public health emergency will both be lifted in May. The GOP’s proposal, according to House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), put pressure on Biden to call an end to the emergency on Wednesday.
In the omnibus year-end budget package, lawmakers came to an agreement to permit states to start eliminating Medicaid recipients who are ineligible. This mechanism will be used to eliminate the continuous enrollment requirement regardless of whether the COVID-19 public health emergency is still in effect.
The COVID-19 public health emergency would be ended before July 2023, according to the Congressional Office Budget, while it was highlighted that there was “substantial uncertainty” over which agencies would be impacted by the bill’s implementation.
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