COVID public health emergency appears to be headed for extension
The Biden administration appears headed toward extending the COVID-19 public health emergency for another three months, allowing special powers and programs to continue past the midterm election.
Driving the news: HHS had extended the emergency declaration through Oct. 13 and pledged it would give states and health providers 60 days' notice before it ends.
Why it matters: Lifting the emergency would bring major policy shifts to insurance markets, drug approvals and telehealth.
- It also keeps in place a higher share of federal Medicaid spending if states offered continuous coverage to enrollees, avoiding the program's usual churn.
- Ending the emergency would lead states to determine whether their Medicaid enrollees are still eligible for coverage — a huge undertaking that could result in millions of Americans being removed from the program.
Where things stand: After a long plateau, the number of new COVID cases have been falling and wastewater surveillance data has shown declines for three straight weeks, per Evercore ISI.
- And yet, about 400 Americans still die every day from COVID-19.