America is ready to end the public health emergency
- BY FGA
America has moved on from the pandemic.
The era of social distancing, isolation, and quarantine guidelines has ended. Even President Biden declared the pandemic over. The urgency and uncertainty of early 2020 is nearly three years in the past.
So why is our country still under a public health emergency?
Because it’s the vehicle through which this administration can implement its welfare-for-all and other leftist policies and tie opponents’ (and states’) hands from trying to undo anything. The public health emergency has long overstayed its welcome and has become a crushing burden on American families, businesses, and the economy.
It needs to end now.
House Republicans appear to understand how critical ending this “emergency” declaration is for our country. Legislation to end the public health emergency is currently in the Rules Committee and is expected to come to the floor for a vote soon.
Here are the top reasons why it’s time to end the public health emergency, once and for all…
The public health emergency is keeping Americans out of the workforce.
The federal government has used the public health emergency as an excuse to expand welfare and spend taxpayer dollars with abandon.
Specifically, it suspended work requirements in welfare for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) and increased benefit amounts in food stamps.
Public health emergency-related welfare expansions have simply made it more lucrative to stay home than to work for many, many Americans.
The real-life consequences of this policy: Supply chain issues and worker shortages have brought disruption to nearly every aspect of life. With nearly 10.5 million open jobs, a policy discouraging work and replacing a paycheck with a welfare check for able-bodied adults without dependents is completely unnecessary.
It’s not just about the price of food on the table. Work requirements have been proven time and again to help families leave welfare for work, raise their incomes, and build better lives. The public health emergency is standing in the way of this for millions—and that needs to stop.
It’s making inflation worse.
President Biden’s welfare expansion has come with a hefty price tag—and the massive uptick in government spending has fueled the inflation crushing American families.
- Waiving work requirements in food stamps brought an influx of food stamp enrollees. Between February 2020 and September 2022, food stamp enrollment skyrocketed by nearly five million. This combined with President Biden’s emergency allotments in food stamps—which guarantee the maximum benefit for households regardless of income—has seen food stamp expenditures increase by 100 percent between early 2020 and last fall. And nearly $90 billion of this is directly related to the emergency allotments.
- The public health emergency also backed states into a corner with Medicaid and in turn saw startlingly high costs, too. The federal government offered extra funding to state Medicaid programs, but on the condition that states can’t remove anyone, even if they’re no longer eligible. Now, Medicaid enrollment nationwide is approaching 100 million and nearly 90 percent of new enrollees are ineligible.
The Medicaid handcuffs are, thankfully, being unlocked soon and states will be able to begin making eligibility redeterminations…but the damage is done, and the welfare expansions made on the back of the public health emergency have cost the nation dearly. Massive new government spending has been a key driver of inflation.
And a majority of Americans—of varying political parties—want it to end.
Recent polling from the Center for Excellence in Polling revealed that a majority of all likely voters (65 percent) somewhat or strongly support ending the public health emergency. Democrats in Congress would be wise to pay attention because nearly 60 percent of Democrat voters and nearly two-thirds of Independent voters also support its end.
America has moved on from the pandemic, and with Congress’s help, our government can finally move on, too. Continuing the public health emergency just to expand welfare is self serving and ignores the plight facing our country. Congress should take action to get America back on track by bringing a quick and decisive end to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
For more on ending the public health emergency:
* The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: Is the Pandemic ‘Over’, or Not?
- “Mr. Biden seems to want it both ways. He wants to reassure Americans tired of restrictions on their way of life that the pandemic is over and they can get on with their lives. But he wants to retain the official emergency so he can continue to expand the welfare state and force states to comply. Covid can’t be an emergency only when it’s politically useful.”
RealClearPolitics Work Is the Solution to America’s Economic Woes
- “Most Americans put the pandemic in the past long ago and went back to work, but the Biden administration has clung to pandemic welfare policy. Welfare work requirements are waived as long as the public health emergency is active. And they haven’t just paused work requirements. They have expanded every major welfare program.”
- “Washington has forced a dangerous and unprecedented welfare experiment on states for the past two years. It has driven people out of the workforce and into government dependency while weakening already overburdened welfare programs. When it comes, the end of the public health emergency will provide an opening to restore reason to welfare. States should be prepared to seize this reform opportunity.”