WASHINGTON, DC – April 10, 2023 – On April 10th, President Biden signed a bipartisan congressional resolution to officially end the U.S. national COVID emergency. It was scheduled to expire on May 11th. The national emergency designation is distinct from the U.S. public health emergency which is still set to expire on May11th.
Each designation allows for its own set of measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. One of the items that the public health emergency act affects is immigration restrictions at the U.S.-Mexican border. The national emergency enabled the government to support systems that are affected by the coronavirus pandemic such as welfare, health and economic networks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in July 2020, there were almost 17 million unemployed Americans with almost 10 million due to business closures or loss of business due to the pandemic.
With the end of the national emergency, many government agencies, like the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have had to adjust their programs in order to return to normal pre-COVID procedures. The COVID mortgage forbearance program will end in May. Caregiver assistance for VA-eligible veterans will require an in-home evaluation. To reduce the spread of COVID, Congress approved telehealth to reduce the number of in-person appointments while allowing for access to healthcare. Last year, Congress extended this service independent of the COVID crisis because it has proven to be a successful adjunct to obtaining access to high quality healthcare.
The public health emergency allows Medicaid beneficiaries to keep their health insurance and access to health care during the pandemic, even if their eligibility changed. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that between 5 and 14 million people will lose their Medicaid benefits when the public health emergency expires next month.
The COVID-19 pandemic was declared a U.S. public health emergency on January 31, 2020 and a national emergency in March 2020 by then-president Trump. The emergency designations have been renewed and broadened by President Biden since he became president in January 2021. COVID-19 infections have resulted in the deaths of over 1 million Americans over the past 3 years.
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Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com