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President Biden leaves Holy Trinity Catholic Church after attending Mass on March 27 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency and national health emergency designations on May 11, the White House announced Monday.

The state of play: The move shifts the debate around GOP resolutions ending the two emergencies, which were set to be voted on in the House this week as a referendum on the incompatibility between President Biden’s statements on the pandemic and the administration’s policy.

  • Instead of acting as a check on sweeping emergency powers and the administration’s COVID posture, the votes are now a question of whether the emergencies should be ended immediately or several months from now — likely limiting the prospect of bipartisan support.
  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in its statement announcing the plan to end the two emergencies, buy generic voltaren online o argued they should be phased out with advanced warning rather than terminated suddenly.
  • “An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system,” the OMB said.

Zoom in: The Biden administration is also accusing Republicans of contravening their party’s support for Title 42, a Trump-era policy facilitating the expedited expulsion of migrants that has been kept in place by the Supreme Court despite the administration’s attempts to end it.

  • Voting to terminate the public health emergency immediately, the OMB claimed, “would lift Title 42 immediately, and result in a substantial additional inflow of migrants at the Southwest border.”
  • Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), who introduced the bill ending the public health emergency, told Axios, "It absolutely does not end Title 42. That's just not accurate."

The other side: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Axios the House will move forward with the votes.

  • “Why would you allow 47% of the government to stay home for another five months,” he said, adding, “The president said in September [the pandemic] was over.”
  • Guthrie said the House should still pass it so Congress can be prepared to push back "if for some reason [the White House's plans] don't come to fruition."

Where it stands: For health care providers, ending the public health emergency will bring big changes.

  • They've had significant leeway on reporting requirements, physical environment standards, patients’ rights and other policies over the last three years due to the emergency.
  • Congress extended telehealth flexibilities in December and laid out a plan for states to start removing ineligible people from Medicaid. But unless lawmakers or regulators act, plenty of other policies will expire with the emergency designation.

Go deeper: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services doesn’t have data on how many providers currently use the flexibilities, as providers don’t need to notify the agency to use them, a spokesperson told Axios last week.

  • CMS is encouraging providers to begin preparing for the end of pandemic-era flexibilities as soon as possible, the spokesperson said prior to the White House’s announcement.

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