Biden intends to end Covid-19 and public health emergencies on May 11
President Joe Biden intends to end the national and public health emergencies of Covid-19 on May 11, the White House announced Monday.
The White House, in an administrative policy statement announcing its opposition to two Republican measures to end emergencies, said the national emergency and public health emergency authorities declared in response to the pandemic would each be extended one last times until May 11.
“This phased reduction would align with the administration’s previous commitments to provide at least 60 days’ notice of the end of (the public health emergency),” the statement said.
The statement added: “To be clear, the continuation of these emergency declarations through May 11 imposes no restrictions on individual conduct with respect to COVID-19. They do not impose mask mandates or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any drugs or tests in response to COVID-19 cases.
The statement came in response to a pair of measures before the House that would end the public health emergency and the national Covid-19 emergency.
The administration argues that the bills are unnecessary as it intends to end the emergencies anyway. The White House also noted that passing the measures before May 11 would have unintended consequences, such as disrupting administration plans to end certain emergency-authorized policies.
The White House has said it will extend the Covid-19 emergencies one last time to ensure an orderly reduction of key authorities that states, health care providers and patients have relied on throughout the pandemic. pandemic.
A White House official pointed to a successful vaccination campaign and a reduction in Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths as justification for lifting emergency declarations. The official said a final extension will allow for a smooth transition for healthcare providers and patients and noted that healthcare institutions have already begun to prepare for this transition.
The administration is actively reviewing the flexible policies that have been authorized under the public health emergency to determine which ones can remain in place after it lifts on May 11.
The public health emergency has allowed the government to provide many Americans with free Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, as well as enhanced social safety net benefits, to help the nation cope. to the pandemic and minimize its impact.
For example, it allowed most Americans covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans to get free Covid-19 tests and vaccines during the pandemic. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries also had certain therapeutic treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies, fully covered.
Once the public health emergency is over, many Americans will need to start paying for these items.
However, the federal government has been preparing to shift Covid-19 care to the commercial market since last year, in part because Congress failed to authorize additional funding to purchase additional vaccines, treatments and tests.
The public health emergency has also meant additional funding for hospitals, which have received a 20% increase in Medicare’s payment rate for treating Covid-19 patients.
But many of the most significant improvements to public assistance programs are no longer tied to the public health emergency. Congress severed the connection in December as part of its fiscal year 2023 government funding package.
Most notably, states will now be able to begin processing new Medicaid determinations and de-enroll residents who are no longer eligible, beginning April 1.
Under a Covid-19 relief package passed in March 2020, states were not allowed to deport people from Medicaid during the public health emergency in exchange for additional federal matching funds. Enrollment in Medicaid has skyrocketed since then, and millions of people are expected to lose coverage once states begin eliminating the schedules.
Additionally, food stamp recipients received an increase in their benefits during the public health emergency. This additional aid will end in March, although several states have already stopped providing it.
This story has been updated with additional details.