THE OUTLOOK FOR HEALTH CARE IN 2023:

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February 22, 2022

Around the nation: Biden administration to increase distribution of high-quality masks to children

Daily Briefing

    The Biden administration last week announced plans to expand the distribution of high-quality masks to children, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia and Illinois.

    • District of Columbia: The Biden administration is expanding its efforts to make more high-quality masks available for children, according to Tom Inglesby, senior advisor to the White House Covid-19 response team. The administration has already distributed 230 million masks to pharmacies and community health centers and will now focus its efforts on delivering high-quality masks to children. "We are now in the process of planning for the distribution of masks for children. And we'll have more to say about that in the days ahead. But there's a commitment to do that, and there's a process underway, certainly, for all adults to get masks now for free at pharmacies and community health clinics across the country," Inglesby said. (Wamsley, NPR, 2/17)
    • District of Columbia: The Biden administration last week requested an additional $30 billion for the Covid-19 response—a request that triggered a debate between lawmakers reluctant to further increase expenditures amid record-high federal debt and inflation and those who remain concerned about the pandemic response. Although the omicron surge has diminished, experts have warned that another variant capable of producing a similar surge could emerge in the future. "You need to order within the next several months to have vaccines and therapeutics available for later this year," a senior administration official said. "You can't wait until the next surge." (Owens/Mucha, Axios, 2/15)
    • Illinois: After suspending donations to Republican lawmakers who opposed President Joe Biden's inauguration last year, Walgreens last week resumed political donations—sparking backlash among many of its customers. On Thursday, #BoycottWalgreens was trending on Twitter, with many users saying they planned to move their prescriptions to other pharmacies. According to Brayden King, a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, "[t]he boycott is much more effective at galvanizing public attention than it is at shaping consumer choices," he said. "It seems unlikely this is going to have a big impact on Walgreens' short-term bottom line, but that doesn't mean Walgreens won't take it seriously." (Marotti, Crain's Chicago Business/Modern Healthcare, 2/18)

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