Three years later…
Brandon announced earlier this year that he will end all Covid-19 health emergencies on May 11th.
“An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system — for states, for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,” the OMB wrote in a Statement of Administration Policy.
Brandon also signed a GOP-proposed bill officially ending the US’s Covid national emergency last month.
The Senate voted 68 to 23 to end the Covid emergency.
The House already passed the resolution 229-197.
The law ends Title 42, a Trump-era policy that blocked aliens seeking asylum from crossing over the US border.
“The new law immediately ends the national emergency and public health emergency first enacted during the Trump administration and continued through the Brandon administration. Former President Donald Trump first declared a national emergency over the virus on March 13, 2020, retroactive to March 1 of that year. The declarations allowed for federal funding to be freed up to cities and states for things like testing and vaccination centers.” CBS News reported.
The COVID-19 public health emergency has ended as of today, Thursday.
“May 11, 2023, marks the end of the federal COVID-19 PHE declaration. After this date, CDC’s authorizations to collect certain types of public health data will expire,” CDC said in a statement.
COVID-19 will be treated as an endemic threat to public health, which will be handled using the agencies’ normal authorities, per AP.
The CDC will no longer collect data on Covid-19 in the community, and hospitals and testing facilities will no longer be required to report specific case details. The COVID-19 case and death data will no longer be highlighted on COVID Data Tracker.
The end to Covid emergency declarations also means people will have to pay out-of-pocket expenses for Covid tests, vaccines, and treatments.
USA Today reported:
Once the public health emergency for COVID-19 ends, insurance providers will no longer be required to waive costs for COVID-19 tests, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Medicaid: Free tests are available until Sept. 30, 2024; state Medicaid programs will decide whether to continue coverage after that.
- Medicare: Enrollees will no longer receive free at-home tests, but lab tests are covered.
- Private insurers: They are no longer required to pay for eight home tests a month. Consumers should check with their insurer about access because coverage varies by state and insurance company.
- Uninsured: Testing may be available through pharmacies and community-based sites under a CDC program.
According to CDC, vaccines, therapies, and tests, will continue to be accessible.
- Vaccines will remain available. Access to COVID-19 vaccines will generally not be affected for now. The U.S. government is currently distributing free COVID-19 vaccines for all adults and children. To help keep communities safe from COVID-19, HHS remains committed to maximizing continued access to COVID-19 vaccines.
- COVID-19 at-home tests may not be covered by insurance. Insurance providers will no longer be required to waive costs or provide free COVID-19 tests. CDC’s No Cost COVID-19 Testing Locator can help people find current community and pharmacy partners participating in the Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program.
- Treatments will remain available. Medication to prevent severe COVID-19, such as Paxlovid, will remain available for free while supplies last. After that, the price will be determined by the medication manufacturer and your health insurance coverage. Check with your healthcare provider if you need early treatment to prevent severe COVID-19.
The Brandon administration is also planning to remove vaccine requirements for international air travelers and federal employees this week. The change will go into effect on Friday, May 12th at 12 a.m. ET.
“Considering this progress and based on the latest guidance from our public health experts, we no longer need a government-wide vaccination requirement for federal employees or federally specified safety protocols for federal contractors,” the White House said.
“Vaccination remains an important tool to protect individuals from serious illness, but we are now able to move beyond these federal requirements.”