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What We're Reading: Reducing Medical Debt; Federal Worker Vaccine Mandate; Philadelphia Requires Indoor Masking


White House seeks to reduce medical debt of Americans amid rising inflation; Biden administration asks federal appeals court to resume enforcement of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees; Philadelphia to reimpose mask mandates in indoor public settings.

White House Seeks to Reduce Americans’ Medical Debt

Vice President Kamala Harris announced yesterday, April 11, that the White House is seeking to reduce the medical debt of Americans amid rising inflation. CNN is reporting that the White House will implement a 4-point plan to help consumers, which includes HHS evaluating how providers’ billing practices impact access and affordability of care and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigating credit reporting companies and debt collectors who violate patient rights. Medical debt has been shown to disproportionately impact Black and Hispanic families, as well as women and younder individuals.

Biden Administration Requests to Resume Federal Worker Vaccine Mandate

The Hill is reporting that the Biden administration asked a federal appeals court yesterday to clear a procedural hurdle and resume enforcement of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees that was halted in January by a federal judge in Texas. After the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reversed the January ruling last week, the Biden administration is requesting for the ruling to take effect sooner than the scheduled date of May 31. The public health policy generally requires federal employees to get vaccinated or face discipline, such as termination, but religious and medical exemptions are allowed.

Philadelphia Reimposes Indoor Masking Mandate

Reuters is reporting that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will reimpose mask mandates in indoor public settings, such as restaurants, schools, and businesses, beginning next week as cases of COVID-19 are up 50% from the start of April. The move comes more than a month after the city had relaxed its indoor masking requirement for public spaces during a decline in cases observed in March. Primarily driven by the BA.2 omicron subvariant, new infections are up 10% in the United States in the past week, with Pennsylvania among the top 10 states where infections are spreading fastest.

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