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Health Care — COVID public health emergency extended

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Health Care — COVID public health emergency extended

The winners of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year are officially in, and one eagle-eyed photographer was able to capture a snake enjoying a pretty wild snack. 

Today in health, the White House extended the COVID-19 public health emergency that has been in place since January 2020, continuing it into next year. 

Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Officials extend COVID public health emergency  

The Biden administration on Thursday extended the nation’s COVID-19 public health emergency for the next 90 days, as officials brace for a potential surge of infections over the winter. 

The declaration comes as daily deaths and case rates have been falling, though the U.S. continues to see more than 300 people dying every day.  

The public health emergency was first declared in January 2020 and has been renewed every 90 days since, making this the fourth calendar year the nation has existed under the public health emergency.  

  • The declaration helped get treatments and vaccines approved at breakneck speed and enabled the administration to ensure Americans did not have to pay.
     
  • The extension also ensures policies like expanded Medicaid benefits, telehealth coverage, and extra payments to hospitals and doctors will continue. 

White House health officials have been urging people to get the updated variant-specific COVID-19 vaccine, and have said the extent of any surge depends on the precautions people take and the vaccination rates. 

Read more here. 

Social Security announces 8.7 percent COLA hike 

Social Security payments will increase by an average of $140 per check as the national pension plan is set to receive its biggest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 40 years. 

  • Yet while the 8.7 percent COLA will come as a relief to seniors, it will only normalize their standard of living back to where it was a year ago rather than giving them surplus income. Consumer inflation has been above 8 percent since March, eating into paychecks and diminishing the value of Social Security payments. 

A large proportion of retirees’ Social Security incomes goes toward housing, food and health care costs, but for seniors also on Medicare, additional financial relief for the latter expense will come in the form of lower Part B premiums in 2023.  

But the rising COLA together with the falling premium means that people on the lower end of the income spectrum could feel a significant increase in monthly payments beginning in 2023.  

  • The future of Social Security is a key issue in the midterm elections this year.
  • Republicans argue they want to extend the life of Social Security, but Democrats warn that if Republicans take control of Congress they will make dramatic cuts to the program. 

Read more here. 

4 IN 10 MISREPRESENTED COVID STATUS: RESEARCH  

More than 40 percent of United States residents misled others on either their COVID-19 vaccination status or how they followed public health guidelines, according to a new study.   

In a survey of 1,733 U.S. adults conducted in December 2021, researchers found
42 percent of participants admitted to not adhering or misrepresenting how they were adhering to COVID-19 protocols. 

The survey findings were published this week in the American Medical Association’s online monthly journal JAMA Network Open.  

Out of respondents that admitted to misleading others related to COVID-19, about a quarter said they told someone that they were taking more COVID-19 preventative measures than they were.   

Another 22 percent admitted to breaking COVID-19 quarantine rules; 21 percent said they avoided getting tested for COVID-19 when they thought they might have the virus; and 20 percent said they lied about knowing they had the virus when screened to enter a clinician’s office. 

Read more here

WHO EXPECTS COVID-19 CASES TO RISE IN EUROPE 

The World Health Organization (WHO) is expecting coronavirus cases to rise in Europe as some countries have already begun reporting an increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday noted the recent rise in pandemic metrics among European countries while addressing the COVID-19 International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. 

“This is to be expected, as the weather cools in the northern hemisphere and people spend more time together inside,” Tedros said. “Given the current situation, we expect continued transmission of the virus, and we expect reported cases of COVID-19 to increase.” 

The WHO head observed that most countries no longer have COVID-19 mitigation methods in place and have also “drastically” reduced their surveillance of the virus. He warned that these moves were “blinding us to the evolution of the virus and the impact of current and future variants.” 

Read more here

FDA warns of Adderall shortage 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted an Adderall shortage this week, warning that manufacturers will not be able to meet the U.S. market demand at the current rate of production. 

While several manufacturers are still producing and supplying Adderall, major pharmaceutical companies are currently dealing with issues affecting their production, said the FDA in its notice

Adderall — or mixed amphetamine salts — is a popular drug commonly prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy. The FDA said in its notice that “alternative therapies” for these conditions were available and advised that patients speak with a health care professional on what the best treatment plan would be. 

Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest U.S. supplier of Adderall, has been dealing with an ongoing supply disruptions since at least August. The FDA on Wednesday said the company was “experiencing ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays.” 

Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Purdue Pharma, is experiencing a shortage of its 5 mg bottles of 100 tablets of Adderall. The reason for the lack of availability cited in the FDA’s post is “shortage of active ingredient.” 

Read more here

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • New generation of weight loss medications offer promise — but at a price (Kaiser Health News
  • 4 out of 5 people with long COVID have trouble performing day-to-day activities: CDC (ABC News
  • Covid rise not driven by new variants – public health expert (BBC

STATE BY STATE

  • Texas bans many proven tools for helping drug users. Advocates are handing them out anyway. (Texas Tribune
  • Georgia has nation’s highest flu rate; children among the hardest-hit (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Congenital syphilis rates soar across California (CalMatters

THE HILL OPEDS

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.