This week, as states and municipalities moved to lift COVID-19 restrictions and the number of new infections plummeted, the Biden administration pressured lawmakers for yet another round of pandemic funding. Specifically, the Minister of Health and Human Services (HHS), Xavier Becerra, told Congress on Tuesday that HHS needs an additional $ 30 billion immediately to continue its COVID-19 response. HHS’s request for $ 30 billion is probably just the tip of the iceberg; It is clear that legislators and the administration need a better process for financing pandemic in the future.
That HHS request is limited to vaccines, diagnostics and therapies and may not be sufficient to hold HHS until the end of the financial year; further requests are expected this summer. Specifically, HHS wants $ 17.9 billion to buy oral antiviral drugs, monoclonal antibodies, pediatric vaccines for children ages 5-15, and for a slush fund to potentially buy multivariate vaccines if they were to be developed. An additional $ 4.9 billion would be used to maintain the production capacity of COVID-19 tests and test supplies as current demand declines, further expanding the program Increasing Community Access to Testing, providing free testing to underserved communities, continuing the accelerated path for COVID-19 tests emergency use approval, monitoring and evaluation of existing diagnostic efficiencies to identify new variants and finances advanced procurement of diagnostics from manufacturers who are close to receiving emergency approval but who do not have the means to scale up production capacity in advance. Then there is $ 3 billion to reimburse providers for testing, treating and vaccinating uninsured persons, $ 3.7 billion to the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to support the development of new vaccines that will preserve their effectiveness against future variants, and finally, $ 500 million for ongoing monitoring for the purpose of detecting future variants.
Additional COVID-19 related funding requests are likely and that was actually there on Thursday reports that the U.S. Agency for International Development could ask for as much as $ 19 billion through September to fund U.S. efforts to distribute vaccines internationally. Meanwhile, Congress is working to finalize an agreement to fund the entire federal government until September – the end of the fiscal year 2022. It is expected that the administration will try to roll these and other COVID-19 funding requests into the process that lawmakers now hope to complete by March 11, just a few weeks less than halfway through the fiscal year.
Going back to the bigger picture, HHS is wise to continue to plan for future development and to seek to keep testing, vaccination and treatment capacity in place for any future variants. But at the same time, Congress has granted itself fairly $ 4.6 trillion for COVID-19 response until the end of 2021, but exactly how much of it has been used and on what is not entirely clear. As a precondition for further emergency financing until the end of the financial year, legislators will be entitled to insist on a complete account from the administration of how previously allocated dollars have been or have not been used and what money may be available. redistributed. In addition, the president’s budget is expected by law to be submitted to Congress on the first Monday in February. That date has apparently passed, and there are no words on when President Biden can submit his budget request, but when he does, it should cover all COVID-19-related expenditures for the financial year 2023.
Future pandemic financing should not be done on an ad hoc emergency basis. We’ve been at this for two years – we should at least be able to assess what things will cost going forward and pay for it through the regular budgeting and appropriation processes.
Diagram review: Cancer incidence and mortality rates by race, 2018
Yashashree Marne, Health Care Policy Intern
Earlier this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) announced one Map describes trends in cancer incidence, mortality, screening, and treatment by race and ethnicity. In 2018, whites had the highest incidence of cancer (437 per 100,000) compared to other racial and ethnic groups, followed by blacks (427 per 100,000). However, blacks still have the highest risk of cancer death, despite experiencing the largest overall decline in cancer mortality from 2013 to 2018 compared to other racial and ethnic populations. As shown in the table below, Hispanics, Asians / Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans or Native American Alaska have lower overall cancer incidence and mortality compared to whites and blacks. Research suggests that the causes of differences in cancer incidence and mortality are complex and driven by a range of interconnected socioeconomic, behavioral, hereditary and genetic risk factors. According to the KFF report, overall age-adjusted rates of cancer incidence and cancer mortality for all racial and ethnic groups fell from 2013 to 2018. In 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic dropped dramatically reduced rates of cancer screening and treatment, which can reverse these trends.
Tracking COVID-19 cases and vaccinations
Jackson Hammondhealth policy analyst
To track the progress of vaccinations, the Weekly Check will compile the most relevant statistics for the week, with the seven-day period ending on Wednesdays of each week.
Sources: Center for Disease Control and Prevention Trends in COVID-19 cases and Deaths in the United Statesand Trends in COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States
Note: The U.S. population is 332,505,813.