Today, the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation released a new issue of its Health Care in Motion digest titled, Health care Access and the Public Health Emergency (PHE).
The U.S. has now entered the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since January 2020, the country has
operated under a public health emergency (PHE) declaration that has allowed the federal government to
more effectively respond to the pandemic. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has the authority to
extend the PHE for up to 90 days at a time, and the PHE ends when the Secretary determines that the
emergency is over or when the PHE period expires without renewal. So far, the PHE has been continuously
renewed for over two years, most recently on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
As the nation begins to shift to a new “living with the virus” phase of its pandemic response, it is likely that
the federal PHE will officially end in the coming months. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) included a number of emergency
federal actions related to health coverage and access and explicitly tied to them to the PHE, meaning that
some important consumer protections and health systems flexibilities may end in the coming months. In this
installation of Health Care in Motion, we dive into what this means for people who have depended on PHE-related programs and flexibilities and how you can prepare for the end of the PHE.