Senate Approves $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Reconciliation Bill with Provisions Affecting Hospitals and Health Systems
The Senate voted 50-49 to approve a modified version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes a number of provisions that affect hospitals and health systems. It is our understanding there may be some additional text changes to the bill that are not noted in the attached documents.
The Senate-passed bill is similar to legislation approved by the House of Representatives on Feb. 27; however, the Senate did make a number of changes. The House next week is expected to pass the Senate version without further changes, and it then would go to President Biden for his signature.
Changes in the Senate bill include additional new funding for rural hospitals and health care providers for COVID-19 relief; increased federal subsidies for COBRA coverage; and changes to the Medicare wage index.
CDC interim guidelines loosen gathering restriction for fully vaccinated individuals
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals’ social practices. CDC said that those who are fully vaccinated — whether the two doses required by the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, or the single Johnson & Johnson dose — may eschew masks or physical distancing when gathering with other fully vaccinated individuals in small groups in their homes.
They can also visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without wearing masks or physical distancing if that household’s occupants are at low risk of severe COVID-19 disease. The guidelines still urge the use of masks and physical distancing in public. In addition to the private visitation recommendations, the guidelines also make recommendations for isolation, quarantining and testing for those who are fully vaccinated.
Nursing While Vaccinated; Senate Passes COVID Relief; Scream Testing?— A daily roundup of news on COVID-19 and the rest of medicine
Mom’s coronavirus vaccination may protect baby as well, according to a preprint study finding antibodies in breast milk. (medRxiv)
The COVID-19 relief bill — and its healthcare provisions — passed the Senate on Saturday and will be back to the House for final approval this week. (STAT)
As of 8:00 a.m. ET Monday, the unofficial COVID-19 toll in the U.S. stood at 28,999,540 cases and 525,035 deaths. That makes for daily averages of 56,195 and 1,706, respectively, over the past week, continuing the slow downward trend that began in January.