- The COVID-19 public health emergency is set to end May 11, according to a Monday statement from the Office of Management and Budget.
- The statement is in response to proposed Republican legislation in the House of Representatives that sought an earlier end to the public health emergency, which ushered in consumer protections, funding and flexibilities to the healthcare sector.
- An abrupt end to the PHE would create “wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system,” the Biden administration said in a statement.
The Biden administration warned that hospitals are at risk of revenue losses and care delays if the public health emergency ends abruptly.
Hospitals and other providers “will be plunged into chaos without adequate time to retrain staff and establish new billing processes, likely leading to disruptions in care and payment delays, and many facilities around the country will experience revenue losses,” the administration said in a statement.
As part of the public health emergency, hospitals received a pay increase for Medicare members discharged after a COVID-19 diagnosis, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The declaration also served as a safety net to ensure Americans didn’t lose access to health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A critical component of the declaration barred states from kicking Medicaid enrollees off health insurance coverage during the public health emergency. Once the declaration ends, states can resume eligibility checks on members and millions are poised to lose coverage as they may no longer qualify for the need-based coverage.
The Biden administration has said it wanted to give states at least a 60-day notice to begin preparing for an orderly end to the public health emergency.
If the PHE were suddenly terminated, millions would be at risk of losing coverage and state budgets would face a “radical cliff.”
States received additional Medicaid funding from the federal government in exchange for allowing continuous enrollment, which was slated to end April 1, along with other consumer protections.
As a result of these policy decisions, Medicaid enrollment grew nearly 28% to cover more than 90 million people from February 2020 through September 2022, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The PHE was first declared under former President Donald Trump and has been renewed every 90 days since then.