What We're Reading: US Pledges Aid to India; Vaccination Rates in Essential Workers, Republicans; Waivers for COVID-19–Related Fees

United States pledges medical aid to India amid COVID-19 surge; poll on attitude toward COVID-19 vaccines spotlight hesitancy among Republicans, non–health care essential workers; waiver fees for COVID-19-related treatments ending for insured patients of several health plans.

US Pledges Medical Aid to India Amid COVID-19 Spikes

Amid marked spikes in cases of COVID-19 reported in India, the United States pledged to provide more medical aid to the country, which will include raw materials for vaccine production, test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment. NPR reported that 350,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday in India, marking the fourth consecutive day that the country broke the record for most cases in a day. The United States is also said to be potentially deploying a team of public health advisers from the CDC and US Agency for International Development to assist health officials in India and the US Embassy.

Vaccine Attitude Polls Spotlight Reluctant Essential Workers, Republicans

According to a poll by CBS News, 6 in 10 Americans say they will get vaccinated or report having received at least one dose, with the remaining 4 in 10 providing responses of "maybe" (18%) or "no" (22%), marking a 4-point decrease in the percentage of Americans who expressed hesitancy last month. In delineating groups who may most likely be reluctant to receive a vaccine, the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor indicated that more than 20% of non–health care essential workers say they will definitely not get the vaccine, which is higher among Republican or Republican-leaning essential workers with 4 in 10 (40%) not intending to be vaccinated.

Insurers Moving to End COVID-19 Treatment Fee Waivers

With many insurers having voluntarily waived all deductibles, copayments, and other costs related to COVID-19 infection for insured patients last year, an article by Kaiser Health News highlights how a growing number of insurers are quietly ending those fee waivers for COVID-19 treatment on some or all policies. Although cost sharing for testing has been waived through guidance reinforced by the Biden administration, treatment has conversely not been addressed, which can prove financially burdensome for patients who fall significantly ill with the virus and require hospitalization.