Tracking the Public Health Emergency - When Will it Ever End?

The Biden-Harris administration has indicated that it will not issue a 60-day notice to end the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) on January 11, 2023, meaning that we can now expect the PHE to be extended for another 90 days through April 11, 2023.

Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Health Subcommittee Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY) have repeatedly called on the Biden Administration to provide a detailed plan to unwind the COVID-19 emergency. Additionally, The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging Congress to provide states with certainty around the end of the Medicaid continuous enrollment requirement. Specifically, NAMD asked lawmakers to:

Provide certainty on when Medicaid coverage redeterminations will begin, with at least 120 days’ advance notice.

Provide certainty that existing federal guidance on the redetermination period will not change.

Provide certainty on available financial resources during the redetermination period, specifically by maintaining the current 6.2 percentage point FMAP enhancement through the first quarter of redeterminations and phasing the enhancement down over 12 months after this quarter.

Provide certainty that underlying Medicaid eligibility will not change during the redetermination period.

The Senate passed a resolution to end the national emergency declaration, which has been renewed annually since former President Trump issued the declaration pursuant to the National Emergencies Act and is different than the COVID-19 PHE.  The resolution was advanced by a bipartisan vote of 62-36.  In response, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement affirming that President Biden would veto efforts to end the national emergency. The current national emergency declaration is set to expire on March 1, 2023. Until it’s conclusion, the declaration allows the President to waive various federal regulatory requirements and activate a variety of statutory emergency authorities.  ‘