With Dan Goldberg and Daniel Lippman
Editor’s Note: POLITICO Pulse is a free version of the POLITICO Pro Health Care morning newsletter, which is sent to our subscribers each morning at 6 a.m. . Act on the news with POLITICO Pro.
– Despite the Biden administration’s plans to charge unvaccinated workers for their Covid-19 tests, employers could find themselves struggling with the bill.
– The White House encourages companies to move forward to vaccinate their employees, even after a court temporarily suspended its workplace vaccine requirements.
– United States struggles to fight disinformation on Covid-19 which threatens to prolong the pandemic.
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THE COT QUESTION BEHIND BIDEN’S VAX RULE – President Joe Biden’s new workplace vaccine rules aim to put unvaccinated workers the cost of their weekly Covid-19 tests. Corn this stick could end up hitting employers the hardest, report by Rebecca Rainey and David Lim of POLITICO.
Business groups and labor law experts say existing laws will likely require companies to cover the cost of testing for workers who claim religious or disability exemptions from the vaccine requirement – a bill that could reach hundreds of dollars per person each month.
The prospect of covering these expenses could weigh more heavily on employers already facing personnel issues, adding a wrinkle to the political and legal fight the Biden administration is already waging in the name of the vaccine or test mandate.
Republicans have rushed to label the demands anti-business, and insurers could further complicate the situation by refusing to cover testing costs – leaving employees and their employers to determine who is responsible for what expenses.
Biden, meanwhile, even faces a flashback worker advocates who generally support the plan – but dislike the requirement that unvaccinated people pay for their own masks or possibly tests.
The administration estimates that nearly 90 percent of workers covered by the requirements will be vaccinated when they go into effect on Jan.4. But that would still leave around 9 million reluctant.
The rules could also put pressure on the country’s testing system. Home testing is not permitted under most circumstances to meet the requirement, meaning that increased demand will likely be imposed on clinical laboratories that process the tests.
This could lead to backlogs and delays – making the requirement yet another inconvenience for workers the government hopes to push into getting vaccinated while doing little to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
WHO FOR COMPANIES: IMPLEMENT THIS VAX REQUIREMENT – The White House is urging companies affected by the vaccine or test rule to continue vaccinating their workers, even after a federal court temporarily suspended the regulations.
“People shouldn’t wait,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday. âThey should keep moving forward and make sure they get their workplace vaccinated. “
Jean-Pierre also expressed confidence that the administration would prevail in a legal battle over the demands, stressing in particular the authorities that the Ministry of Labor must protect workers from “serious danger”.
âLast year over 750,000 people died from Covid,â she said. “If it’s not a ‘grave danger’ I don’t know what else it is.”
The Justice Department also filed its official defense in court. His response to the temporary shutdown argues that the applicants have failed to demonstrate their “suspected injuries outweigh the harm” of blocking regulations that would prevent hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 infections.
The administration also argued that states, businesses and religious groups challenging the rules do not yet have grounds for legal action because the vaccine or test requirement will not have such an impact. that it will not come into force.
THE UNITED STATES IS FLOODED WITH COVID MISINFO – Americans are hit by a daily tsunami of disinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines, making it increasingly difficult for the administration to gain confidence and hamper efforts to end the pandemic.
This is what to remember from The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Latest Vaccine Monitor Survey, which found that 78% of adults have heard at least one of eight false claims about the virus – and think it’s true or don’t know what to think.
A smaller percentage – 32 percent – believe or are unsure of at least four lies. These lies include mistaken beliefs that the government is exaggerating the number of deaths from Covid-19, pregnant women should not get vaccinated, or that vaccines contain a microchip.
This belief in Covid-19 disinformation is correlated both vaccine status and partisanship, with 64 percent of the unvaccinated believing four or more false claims (compared to just 19 percent of those vaccinated).
Republicans were more likely to fall into the misinformation trap than Democrats, with 94% of adults identified by the GOP saying they believe or aren’t sure at least one false statement. This compares to 62 percent of Democrats.
Getting the right information to people is difficult. Americans have little confidence in news sources, which compounds the problems of getting people to know the facts about Covid-19. Local TV news is the most reliable source – and even so, less than 50% of respondents say they have a high or fair amount of confidence in it.
Faith in the news that exists predictably breaks down along partisan lines. Most Democrats have a high or fair amount of confidence in network news, local news, and brands like CNN and MSNBC, but very little confidence in Fox News or Newsmax.
Republicans overwhelmingly trust no source, with Fox News leading the pack at 49%. The statistics are even worse among the unvaccinated, with less than one in four trusting a source except Fox News (30%).
One last statistic (unsurprisingly): Those who believe the most false claims tend to say that they trust Newsmax and One America News for their information. Fox News was just behind in third.
THE SENATE IS WATCHING A ACCUMULATION OF HOLIDAYS – The Senate has at least four major goals to accomplish this year and very little time to achieve them – including finding a compromise on Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion spending bill that can pass through the tightly divided chamber , Report by Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine of POLITICO.
Senators are only expected to sit three weeks before the end of 2021, which increases the chances that they will be faced with multiple deadlines at once. In addition to the social spending program, Congress must fund the government after December 3, pass a major defense policy bill, and find a way to raise the debt ceiling.
Reality: If there is one deal that slips into 2022, it will likely be all spending. Senator Joe manchin (DW.Va.) is already in favor of slowing down negotiations, and the Senate could take several days to resolve each of the remaining items on the agenda.
“We will go to the reconciliation bill someday” after we finish the defense bill, senator. Jon Tester (D-Mon.) Says. “But I think it’s going to take a while.”
PETITIONS FROM THE SD GROUP TO BE MADE EXPANSION OF MEDICAID IN THE NEWSLETTER – South Dakotans advocacy organization Decide Healthcare submitted signatures on Monday to register the extension of Medicaid in the state’s November 2022 ballot, reports Dan Goldberg of POLITICO.
South Dakota is one of twelve states that have not expanded the Affordable Care Act insurance program. If approved, nearly 43,000 residents would be newly eligible for Medicaid.
Six states have voted to expand Medicaid since 2017, but South Dakota could be more difficult. Legislatures are asking voters to approve a rule requiring amendments such as extending Medicaid to receive more than 60% of the vote to pass – a question that will be presented to voters in a June primary election where turnout is expected be weaker.
A second group had also planned to petition for an expansion on Monday. But Dakotans for Health decided to wait until May to avoid the possibility of having two almost identical constitutional amendments in the November 2022 ballot.
Catherine tyner is Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She was previously Acting Associate Director for Science in the Bureau of Pharmaceutical Quality of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and a member of Leadership Development at the White House.
The National Pharmaceutical Council elected Steven romano as Chairman of its Board of Directors for 2021 and 2022. Romano is Executive Vice President and Scientific Director of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
Even as drug overdoses hit record highs, pharmacists avoided stocking reference drugs like buprenorphine for fear the Drug Enforcement Agency would accuse it of contributing to the opioid epidemic, reports Aneri Pattani of Kaiser Health News.
A drug industry campaign promoting aggressive diabetes The treatment ended up fueling an epidemic of hypoglycemia among the patients it claimed to be helping, report Robin Respaut of Reuters, Chad Terhune and Deborah J. Nelson.
The biogen is investigate death of a 75-year-old patient potentially linked to his controversial new Alzheimer’s disease drug, reports Zachary Brennan of Endpoints News.