Biden offers private sector support for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments

JThe Biden administration has signaled that it will soon stop footing the bill for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and antiviral treatments, shifting that burden onto insurers and people.

The Department of Health and Human Services will meet with drugmakers, pharmacies and other health sector stakeholders later this month to discuss how insurance coverage and reimbursements would cover product costs. pharmaceuticals related to COVID-19, although the commercialization process is planned. take months to finalize, the the wall street journal reported.

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The meeting, scheduled for August 30, is expected to discuss how to continue to provide access to treatments and vaccines for the approximately 30 million uninsured people in the United States.

Ashish Jha, COVID-19 response coordinator for the White House, said the transition could begin as soon as this fall, noting that the administration has been preparing for it for months as COVID-19 cases decline in the United States. United.

“Hopefully in 2023 you’re going to see the commercialization of almost all of these products. Some of that is actually going to start this fall, in the days and weeks to come. You’re going to see the commercialization of some of these things “Jha said Tuesday at an event sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, according to CNN.

The Biden and Trump administrations have long argued that the commercialization process is eventual as the pandemic expands from month to year. Once the transition is complete, vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 will be offered by a doctor or other healthcare provider, such as a hospital.

It could also mean additional profits for pharmaceutical companies such as Moderna and Pfizer that produce the vaccines, as commercial prices would likely be higher than what the federal government has paid, said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for policy. of health at the Kaiser Family Foundation. the wall street journal.

Levitt said the move to the private sector could lead to higher premiums for privately insured.

It is unclear at what price, if any, vaccines and treatments would be offered once the transition is complete. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has provided free vaccines and treatments to individuals.

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The Biden administration has requested $10 billion from Congress to support its COVID-19 response efforts, though that effort has stalled, forcing officials to use redirect funding for COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment to purchase updated booster shots that provide better protection against recent coronavirus variants.

The Washington Examiner contacted HHS for comment.

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