February 1, 2021
Congress
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that Democrats will move forward with the budget-reconciliation process to pass additional COVID-related aid.
  • Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and David Trone (D-MD) introduced the Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises During Emergencies Act to help address the worsening mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • In an interview, Senate Majority Leader Schumer outlined the Democrats’ agenda to “deliver help to the American people.”
  • Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced legislation to provide a historic investment in the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps and National Disaster Medical System programs to bolster health emergency surge capacity and restore the pipeline of physicians, nurses and other health professionals to address health workforce shortages throughout our country.
  • Representatives Jason Crow (D-CO), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Dean Phillips (D-MN) introduced the Health Force, Resilience Force and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act. The legislation would recruit, train and employ Americans to expand our public health workforce to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, aid the country’s lagging vaccine distribution campaign, and strengthen America’s longer-term public health response.
  • Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced two pieces of legislation related to the COVID-19 vaccine. The first bill prohibits the use of federal funds to maintain or collect information that can be used to identify any individual to whom a COVID-19 vaccine is administered. The second bill prohibits the use of federal funds to propose, establish, implement or enforce any requirement that an individual wear a mask or other face covering, or be vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Representatives Ann Kuster (D-NH) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation to bolster and quicken the nationwide COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act would improve and expand information sharing between state and federal governments, as well as public and private healthcare providers, to ensure vaccines are being administered effectively and efficiently across all states and territories.
Administration
  • President Biden signed a series of executive orders with the goal of strengthening “Americans’ access to quality, affordable healthcare,” which includes the creation of a new special enrollment period beginning February 15 and ending May 15, 2021.
  • President Biden also signed an executive order on “Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
  • CMS issued a fact sheet on the 2021 Special Enrollment Period in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
  • President Biden announced that his Administration is increasing the weekly supply of COVID-19 vaccines to states and territories by 16% as of this week, boosting the weekly allocation from 8.6 million to 10 million vaccines.
  • The IRS urged employers to use the newly extended employee retention credit, which was designed to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll during the pandemic.
States
  • The White House issued a fact sheet titled "President Biden Announces New Steps to Boost Vaccine Supply and Increase Transparency for States, Tribes and Territories."
  • In a letter to states over the weekend, Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran informed governors that the COVID-19 public health emergency "will likely remain in place for the entirety of 2021."
  • Click here to see where states stand on reopening.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released resources to assist states to reopen.
  • CMS has approved over 200 requests for state relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including recent approvals for Alaska, Iowa, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia.
National Association of Health Underwriters | COVID-19@nahu.org