WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – President Joe Biden told Congress Monday he would end two national emergencies to deal with COVID-19 on May 11, nearly three years after most of the world declared them for the first time. Staying close to normal since.
The measure, ending public health and national emergency declarations, would formally restructure the federal response to the coronavirus, treating the virus as an endemic public health threat that can be handled through the agencies’ general authorities.
It comes at a time when lawmakers have already eliminated elements of the emergency provision that kept millions of Americans covered by health insurance during the pandemic. Along with cutting nearly all federal funding for COVID-19 relief, it would also remove the administration of vaccines and treatments from the direct management of the federal government.
Biden’s announcement joins a statement opposing proposals to be introduced this week by House Republicans who seek an immediate end to the emergency. House Republicans are also preparing to launch an investigation into the federal government’s response to COVID-19.
The then President Donald Trump first declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency on March 13, 2020. Biden has repeatedly extended the state of emergencies since taking office in January 2021, and they are set to expire in the coming months. The White House said the president plans to briefly extend both so that they expire on May 11.
“An abrupt end to emergency declarations would create widespread chaos and uncertainty across the health care system: for states, for hospitals and practices, and above all for millions of Americans,” the Office of Management wrote. and budget statement in a management policy.
More than 1.1 million people in the United States have died of COVID-19 since 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number that includes nearly 3,700 last week.
Congress has already narrowed the scope of the public health emergency, which had the most direct impact on Americans, after political calls intensified to end the declaration. For months, lawmakers have refused to comply with the Biden administration’s request to allocate billions more dollars to extend free vaccines and clinical trials against COVID-19. And a $1.7 trillion spending package passed last year and signed into law by Biden eliminated a rule that barred states from excluding certain recipients from Medicaid, a move that could cost millions more people after April 1. Was expected to leave without coverage.
The cost of COVID-19 vaccines is also expected to skyrocket once the government stops buying them; Pfizer says it will charge up to $130 per dose. Only 15% of Americans have received the updated and recommended booster since it started offering it late last year.