Sunday, May 14, 2023

What is going away with the end of the COVID-19 emergency

What is going away with the end of the COVID-19 emergency


The federal government is slated to sunset various initiatives on Thursday related to the more than three-year public health emergency sparked by the outbreak of COVID-19.

President Joe Biden signed a law ending the national emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic in April, but the public health emergency expires on Thursday. Here is a look at some of the programs and orders ending with the conclusion of the public health emergency, along with what will remain the same.


Title 42

The most discussed order ending on Thursday is Title 42. It allows Border Patrol to expel immigrants rapidly without an asylum hearing, and it was instituted in March 2020 by the Trump administration under the authority of the Public Health Service Act.

The end of Title 42 is expected to be followed by a surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are criticizing the Biden administration for not being prepared for the anticipated surge.

The Biden administration has said it plans to open processing centers in Guatemala and Colombia for immigrants. The White House has maintained in the lead-up to the end of Title 42 that more comprehensive solutions should come from Congress.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Krysten Sinema (I-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and John Cornyn (R-TX) have proposed legislation to enact a policy similar to Title 42 that would give the administration temporary expulsion authority for two years.

COVID-19 testing and tracking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it will scale back its testing once the public health emergency ends. Hospitalization is set to become the key tracking mechanism the agency will use for COVID-19 going forward.

Over-the-counter tests for COVID-19 will no longer be reimbursed under Medicare after the emergency ends on Thursday, and private insurers will also no longer have to cover over-the-counter tests for COVID-19. Those on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will still have over-the-counter tests covered until next year.

Food stamps

Some programs designed to assist lower-income citizens with purchasing food are set to change with the expiration of the public health emergency.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program lowered amounts given to recipients earlier this year to pre-pandemic levels, and some requirements are being reinstated in some states for the program, including work-related requirements.


Telehealth rules allowing doctors to prescribe controlled substances without an in-person appointment were set to expire on Thursday, but the Drug Enforcement Agency announced Tuesday it had extended the temporary rule until Nov. 11, 2023.

Emergency use authorizations

Rules surrounding emergency use authorizations will not change because they were not linked to the public health emergency itself. Emergency use authorizations are done by the Food and Drug Administration under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.


The World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is no longer a global emergency, but it said the pandemic is not over.

The WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The United States declared a public health emergency for the coronavirus on Jan. 31, 2020.

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