U.S. District Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York said the Trump administration’s so-called "public charge" rule could disrupt efforts to address the coronavirus epidemic, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Florida, and New York.
- District of Columbia: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday announced that "members and staff will be required to wear masks at all times in the hall of the House." Pelosi added that House lawmakers will be allowed to take off their masks "temporarily when recognized" to speak. Under Pelosi's policy, lawmakers who do not follow the rule will not be allowed to enter the House chamber. The move comes after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tested positive for the novel coronavirus this week (Marcos, The Hill, 7/29; Kane/Itkowitz, Washington Post, 7/29).
- Florida: The Florida Division of Emergency Management on Wednesday announced the state will halt coronavirus testing for several days due to concerns about the impact of the incoming tropical storm Isaias. Candy Sims, an official at the department, said the testing sites will close Thursday evening and will reopen by Tuesday at the earliest. Sims added that some locations might be closed for a longer period of time, depending on weather conditions (Chappell, NPR, 7/29).
- New York: U.S. District Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration's so-called "public charge" rule for the duration of the federal government's declared public health emergency for the United States' coronavirus epidemic. Daniels said the rule, which would have allowed federal officials to consider whether immigrants are receiving or are likely to receive Medicaid or other public benefits when reviewing their applications for residency, would disrupt efforts to reduce the coronavirus' spread. Daniels issued the ruling in a lawsuit filed by Connecticut, New York, and Vermont, but he said his decision blocks the public charge rule nationwide (Knutson, Axios, 7/29; Lotven, Inside Health Policy, 7/29 [subscription required]).