White House eyes plan to protect access to COVID-19 care post PHE

The Biden administration is weighing a tentative plan that would ensure COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests remain free for uninsured individuals into 2024, according to a Feb. 16 report from Politico.

The plan involves stockpiling a limited supply of the items so they remain free to the roughly 30 million uninsured adults as the U.S. transitions out of the pandemic's crisis era, four people familiar with the matter told the news outlet. The nation's public health emergency is set to end May 11, with costs for tests, vaccines and treatments to shift to the commercial market beginning in the second half of the year. 

"We know that the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency is not the end of our work on COVID-19," a senior administration official told Politico. "It remains a public health priority, and a lot of people will still need these treatments." 

The tentative plan aims to keep COVID-19 care free for the uninsured potentially through the summer of 2024. Administration officials say the plan is still in its early stages and may change. Officials told Politico it is meant as a temporary bridge to protect access and give the Biden administration more time to make the case for additional funding. 

Other options health officials are exploring include extending a partnership with pharmacies to provide free COVID-19 testing into 2024. On Feb. 15, Moderna promised its vaccines would remain available at no cost to Americans, regardless of insurance status. 


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