The Biden administration appears poised to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency once again after progressing past a self-imposed deadline to announce its end.
The ongoing emergency declaration is set to expire on Oct. 13 unless it is extended again by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While no formal announcement has been made yet, HHS previously said it would give state and local health agencies 60 days advanced notice if it planned not to extend the emergency, a deadline that passed at the start of the week with no warning issued, according to Axios.
The Biden admin appears headed toward extending the COVID public health emergency for another 3 months past the current Oct. 13 deadline.
That would allow special powers and programs to continue past the midterm election.
— Axios (@axios) August 16, 2022
Former President Donald Trump first made the public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 on Jan. 31, 2020, more than two and a half years ago. The Trump, and now Biden, administrations have extended the declaration since then, and the next extension by Biden will carry the state of emergency past November’s midterm elections.
Semantics aren’t the only thing at stake with the continuation of the emergency declaration. A number of COVID-19 relief policies implemented during the past 30 months are contingent on the continuation of the public health emergency, according to Axios. Policies such as preventing states from removing ineligible residents from Medicaid rolls are set to expire once the emergency order elapses. (RELATED: Biden Just Signed The Inflation Reduction Act — Here’s How It Can Transform Your Healthcare)
The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress have shown no sign they plan to end the emergency declaration any time soon. Biden has continued to ask Congress for additional funds to further vaccinate the U.S. population this fall as hundreds of Americans continue to die each day from the virus.