Republicans may target this big COVID-19 topic in the next Congress. The National Emergency Declaration, which was declared early in the pandemic by former President Trump and extended by Biden, could be one of the first things the new congress fights. The National Emergency Declaration was at first used to allow the HHS access to waive requirements for federal health programs to make it easier to serve patients. It also allowed flexibilities in deadlines for filing COBRA claims and flexible spending accounts.
States have been expecting the emergency program to end, so it won’t necessarily be a surprise when they need to adjust their programs back. Though one problem states may face is the waiver allowing a family member to be a paid caregiver of another family member within the same household, under Medicaid home community services.
Many senate members, even a few Democrats, are ready to vote yes to end the National Emergency Declaration. Some experts though are saying they may not care as much about the program as what their vote may signal. As many are hoping to send a message to the Biden administration, since they weren’t told to vote no or given a good reason to keep it in place. Republicans, however, are looking forward to voting the program out to reign in the “massive expansion of government.”