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COVID-19 Public Health Emergency likely to be extended

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The Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Xavier Becerra are planning to extend the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the agency said on Thursday. File Pool photo by Al Drago/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f446e5c3b86df74718bf7cda00a8a080/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Xavier Becerra are planning to extend the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the agency said on Thursday. File Pool photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to extend the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the agency said on Thursday.

The department still plans to give local and state health authorities 60 day notice ahead of ending the declaration, which would reduce expanded Medicaid coverage among other things.

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"The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency remains in effect and as HHS committed to earlier, we will provide a 60-day notice to states before any possible termination or expiration," an HHS spokesperson told POLITICO on Thursday.

The current emergency declaration also allows for expanded telehealth services and higher federal payments to hospitals.

Ending the current health emergency would allow states to remove some people from Medicaid coverage if they determine enrollees are no longer eligible for coverage.

By not already issuing a 60-day termination notice, it is likely the declaration will continue through the midterm elections in November.

"Silence from the administration means that the public health emergency will almost certainly be extended into January 2023," Kaiser Family Foundation executive vice president Larry Levitt told POLITICO in an interview.

The HHS secretary first declared a Public Health Emergency in January 2020. The declaration lasts for 90 days and must be renewed to continue. The department last renewed it in July and it is currently once again scheduled to expire on Oct. 13.

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All throughout, the Biden Administration has said that it will give states the 60-day warning before ending the declaration.

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