Health officials from Alabama to Washington say Congress is blocking billions of new funds Shaken Attempts to move to a stable, long-term approach to Covid-19.
“They will cut their legs in the future under Covid’s firm response,” Arkansas Health Secretary Jose Romero told POLITICO. “It’s going to respond.”
New plans, from Oregon “Resilience to Support Equality” In North Carolina “Moving forward together,“Draw how the state health departments intend to move from crisis response to disease management while maintaining opportunities to strengthen public health operations when new waves of the virus come. The policies announced by state health officials over the past few weeks vary in specificity but focus on the idea that public health interventions should be predictable even when there is no virus.
But The congressional hearing about that were exactly where the firing came from Implement their new strategies even as they face the Omicron sub-variant BA.2, which has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases in Europe in recent weeks and now The dominant variant of Covid In the United States Although cases have continued to decline nationally over the past two weeks, in some states, especially in the Northeast, they have begun to increase.
“We are well positioned, but not that we have somehow failed to act and reach a consensus to continue to provide some funding for this,” said Marcus Pleshia, chief medical officer at the State and Territorial Association. Health officials.
The Biden administration has asked Congress for $ 22.5 billion to continue fighting the pandemic in the near future. Are senators Instead of closing About $ 10 billion in aid packages. This sentence can be passed through the upper chamber In the coming days, but will still need approval from the ward.
Lawmakers have been in a deadlock for weeks as Republicans demand a record of how previous pandemic aid was spent – as well as insisting that any new dollars be repaid by reducing other programs – and Democrats are in favor of more cash.
The proposal, which was approved by party leaders but failed in the House earlier this month, offered a $ 7 billion return from 30 federal recovery dollars to help pay for a new round of about $ 15 billion in pandemic aid.
States are adamant that they need both congressional-approved health care assistance last spring – states can use it to rebuild their economies, invest in health care infrastructure and support needed workers – as well as additional Covid-specific dollars.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, chairman and co-chair of the National Association of Governors, respectively. They asked The White House and Congress to provide states with “the resources they need to continue to respond to COVID-19, as well as to meet current federal government commitments, including state and local fiscal recovery funds.”
In Washington, D.C., Governor Jay Insli’s office contacted the White House to stress that the state legislature had already appropriated federal recovery funds and that there would be “significant direct impact if this promised funding were not received,” said Insley’s spokesman. Said James Smith. The state of Washington lost nearly $ 400 million in funding with its initial $ 15 billion Covid-19 deal.
“We want to have confidence that when federal federations offer funding, we can budget and know that they will deliver,” Smith said.
Congress deadlock Left Some states have hastily drawn up emergency plans, especially to help the uninsured. In Utah, health officials are arguing over the treatment and vaccination of Covid for uninsured people through Medicaid, as they are already doing for testing, as allowed by Congress during the pandemic. But it is a short-term solution that could hinder the state if a public health emergency ends this summer.
Georgian officials continue to offer Covid tests, vaccinations, and boosters to any Health Department resident and contract partner for free. In Arkansas, health care officials collect funding together to support in-house testing of uninsured individuals.
But health officials in the red and blue states say they will not be able to quickly step up testing efforts, provide treatment and Offer booster vaccines to their residents if tests, treatments and vaccines are not available.
“If Congress does not approve additional funding, then we will have a catastrophe,” said Scott Harris, an Alabama health officer. “You would think that at some point, someone could do a cost-analysis here and say, pay for people to get tested and vaccinated or get antivirals for Covid, it would be cost-saving to ignore this problem and allow more explosions to happen. ”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, St. Louis Letter A delegation from the state congress said this week that states would still face each other in competition for scarce resources as they did in the early days of the pandemic if the federal government did not continue to procure them.
North Carolina monoclonal antibody treatment spending fell by more than 30 percent this week due to a lack of federal funding to pay for them, and the state exceeded the dollars allocated for testing in the background as a result of Delta. And Omicron waves.
“If they do not have the funding to continue procuring and, most importantly, to develop more treatments and therapeutic options, then moving it to the states and launching it in the private market will create incredible chaos. Said Code Kinsley, North Carolina’s health minister.
While Covid vaccines and therapies may be ordered directly from healthcare providers in the future, this transition will take time, said Dean Siddlinger, an Oregon health officer and state epidemiologist. And state health officials say it is impossible to do so as long as the world continues to compete for limited supplies of vaccines and treatments.
“Building a separate system where providers or states individually go to distributors or manufacturers to buy them does not happen overnight,” Siddlinger said. “You are creating funding uncertainty or a realistic prospect of reduced funding and resources, and you need to invent new systems that really hinder our ability to do some advance planning and be prepared to respond more conveniently.
Public health experts are cautiously optimistic that an increase in Omicron this winter will slow down some of BA.2 impacts in the United States, but state health officials fear that a small BA.2 wave that passes relatively quickly could be perceived as Evidence that they can successfully withstand weather conditions. Covid’s new options without the extra federal dollars – rather than proof that public health interventions work and deserve ongoing support.
“When I look back on the beginning of this pandemic two years and two months ago, we all want to be as prepared as we are now,” Kinsley said. “We can manage this beyond the crisis scenario. We can manage this in the same way as other respiratory diseases, despite the major curves, because we are ready and because we have the tools. There is no time to let the gas in any form be ready. ”
Uncertainty about the future of Covid-19 makes it even more important that the answer – and, by extension, the federal dollar that backs them – remains predictable, say state health officials.
“I just want to remind everyone that this pandemic is not over. It’s just in another phase. “We are at a stage where we need to make sure that people do not forget this, including our policymakers,” said Umayr Shah, the health secretary in Washington. Doing 95 percent or 90 percent is not good enough.
The states are ready to live with Kovid. The struggle for congressional funding complicates this.
Source link The states are ready to live with Kovid. The struggle for congressional funding complicates this.