RESEARCH BRIEFING – WEEK IN REVIEW
POLICY BRIEFING – WEEK IN REVIEW
On a recent call with the National Governors' Association, Vice President Mike Pence and of the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar reassured state leaders that the coronavirus declaration of a national emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak likely would not be ending any time soon. While the continuance of the nationwide state of emergency is not yet official policy, the high ranking Trump administration members stated that an extension is currently moving through the administrative process. Secretary Azar noted that he didn't know of any reason that the continuance would not be authorized, though those who have watched the often mercurial President closely may have other ideas on that matter. Initially granted in January when the novel coronavirus was still largely in China, the declaration gives sweeping powers to the administration to make swift changes including increasing reimbursement for telehealth visits for the treatment of Medicare beneficiaries and allowing the Food and Drug Administration to temporarily authorize medications and medical devices including diagnostic tests. Under the declaration, state governments can also use federal employees to help with their responses to the pandemic. The public health emergency must be reauthorized every 90 days and is currently set to expire on July 25th. If granted, the extension would be set to expire shortly before Election Day, currently scheduled for November 3rd. Politico.