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President Joe Biden wasted no time getting all the way down to work. Among the many raft of government orders he signed on Inauguration Day have been a number of geared toward curbing the covid disaster, together with one requiring mask-wearing by federal staff and anybody on federal property for the subsequent 100 days.
In the meantime, with the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of two new Democratic senators from Georgia, Democrats took over the bulk within the Senate, albeit with a 50-50 tie. That leaves Democrats in command of each the legislative and government branches for the primary time since 2010, however with such slim majorities it could possibly be tough to advance a lot of Biden’s prime well being agenda objects, beginning with an growth of the Inexpensive Care Act.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.
Among the many takeaways from this week’s podcast:
- Though Biden could make sure adjustments to the federal insurance policies within the struggle towards covid-19, a lot of what he has detailed in his plan would require congressional motion, and Senate Republicans don’t seem keen to assist a serious legislative bundle simply but.
- Lots of the efforts towards covid that Biden has mentioned he needs to place in place are initiatives which were advisable by public well being officers over the previous 12 months and never acted upon. However the discovery of latest, extra contagious variants of the coronavirus might necessitate sooner efforts to distribute vaccine and different actions.
- Carrying masks and different easy public well being practices can have a big effect on slowing the unfold of covid, however a lot of the general public is seeking to a vaccine for assist. These provides stay restricted and it’s not clear whether or not Biden’s curiosity in utilizing the Protection Manufacturing Act to power trade to assist will improve vaccine manufacturing.
- Vaccination success is hampered by unreliable estimates of the quantity of provides states can anticipate to obtain and a patchwork of sign-up strategies and eligibility standards.
- Among the many actions Biden and a Democratic Congress might take to reverse insurance policies instituted by the Trump administration are ramping up office enforcement of covid guidelines to assist preserve staff from spreading the illness, restoring a penalty for not having insurance coverage in order that the lawsuit threatening the Inexpensive Care Act would change into moot, and overturning guidelines requiring critiques of federal scientists.
- The Senate has not but scheduled a affirmation listening to for Xavier Becerra, Biden’s selection for Well being and Human Companies secretary. Earlier than a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol this month, it was thought that establishing a brand new federal well being group could be the president’s precedence, however nationwide safety took priority after the violence.
- Controlling drug costs is a matter with enormous standard assist, however Congress is split over find out how to do it. The broad measure that handed the Home in 2019 is once more unlikely to fly within the Senate, however senators might attempt to produce a extra modest proposal alongside the strains of a bipartisan measure provided beforehand by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore).
- Drugmakers have usually fought most efforts to implement worth controls, however there could also be rising curiosity inside the trade to work out a bipartisan deal that they’ve a hand in, somewhat than ready to see what Democrats can push by way of.
Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they suppose you must learn too:
Julie Rovner: The Atlantic’s “Pramila Jayapal Is ‘Subsequent-Degree’ Offended,” by Elaine Godfrey
Alice Miranda Ollstein: The New York Instances’ “Rising Coronavirus Variants Could Pose Challenges to Vaccines,” by Apoorva Mandavilli
Sarah Karlin-Smith: Self-importance Truthful’s “A Tsunami of Randoms”: How Trump’s COVID Chaos Drowned the FDA in Junk Science,” by Katherine Eban
Tami Luhby: KHN’s “Black Individuals Are Getting Vaccinated at Decrease Charges Than White Individuals,” by Hannah Recht and Lauren Weber
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