The Biden Administration on Monday said that the national and public health emergencies declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic will officially end on May 11. The national and public health emergencies declaration took effect in January 2020 under then-president Donald Trump
This would mean the end to both federal emergency declarations. This will also end the funding to subsidize Covid medicines, medical insurance and other types of government aid related to the pandemic.
In practice, part of these government assistance programs has already dried up due to opposition from Congress.
The remaining debate over the declaration is largely political, with Republicans who control the House of Representatives preparing bills that would seek to end the national emergency on March 1 and the public health emergency on April 11.
The White House, in a statement said that such abrupt cancellations of the two emergencies would have “highly significant impacts on our nation’s health system and government operations.”
This would include “chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system.” it said.
“Hospitals and nursing homes that have relied on flexibilities enabled by the emergency declarations will be plunged into chaos without adequate time to retrain staff and establish new billing processes,” the statement said.
Another reason for a 60 day notice period through to May, the White House said, is to give the government time to prepare for the impact of lifting the emergencies on immigration at the troubled US-Mexican border.
A rule known as Title 42, currently in place to allow swift expulsion of undocumented migrants, is legal only because of the health emergency. Ending the emergency “precipitously” will “result in a substantial additional inflow of migrants.”
The White House says it wants to end Title 42 and replace it with a different legal mechanism for controlling the flow of would-be immigrants, but that it needs time to do this.