According to numerous economists, if Congress does not agree to raise the debt ceiling, the federal government will not be able to pay all its bills. That default, which is projected on or around June 1, would plunge the U.S. into an instant recession.
Sixty-six million people rely on Social Security each month to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads. For 40% of recipients, Social Security makes up 90% of their monthly income. These payments would be delayed.
SNAP food stamp payments would be delayed, as would Medicaid payments to states and Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors―devastating to health infrastructure, especially in rural communities.
Two million federal workers, 1.4 million active-duty military personnel, plus government contractors would all see delays in payments. And veterans’ benefits, including disability payments and pensions would be impacted.
Meanwhile the stock market would take a severe hit, dropping anywhere from 33 – 45%, wiping out $12 trillion of household wealth, including retirement accounts.
The move aside, omicron AB.1 edition. New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to decline, and deaths and hospitalizations are way down. But the decline in new cases is not nearly as sharp as it was two weeks ago – just 12 percent, compared with 43 percent in mid-March. And some states, including New York, are now reporting an increase in new cases.
All of this comes as omicron AB.2, a subvariant of its predecessor and more infectious, has emerged as the dominant variant in the U.S. This happened earlier this year in Europe and in Asia – and cases in both regions subsequently soared. Public health officials are bracing for a possible rebound in cases here at home.
But are we ready? Experts worry that Americans have moved on from the pandemic before it is done with us and that the U.S. could be unprepared for a new wave. Across the country, states and localities are shuttering mass vaccination and testing sites – both vaccination rates and testing are way down.
“We’re in this phase of this pandemic where we’re transitioning,” Aubree Gordon, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times. “It’s still really critical that testing is readily available – you can’t know what’s going on if you’re not looking at it.”
Meanwhile, Congress has been unable to agree on additional COVID-19 relief and time grows short. If Congress fails to act, the consequences will be increasingly severe. Providers already have stopped treating COVID-19 patients without insurance – beginning next week, they will no longer be able to offer vaccinations free of charge.
Without action, shipments of monoclonal antibodies to states will increasingly be scaled back. The Biden Administration warns it will need to cut back its planned purchases of preventative treatments for the immunocompromised, creating a shortage of these life-saving treatments for the people who need them most. If another surge does occur and more doses of vaccines are needed, the country will no longer be able to provide enough boosters for all Americans. We will have significantly reduced testing capacity, curtailed efforts to accelerate research into next-generation vaccines, and harmed our ability to help vaccinate hundreds of millions of people in poorer countries, a step needed to stop the pandemic in its tracks.
You can help. Write Congress. Tell them to get to work and protect America – and the world.
On Wednesday, March 30, 27,621 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S., along with 702 deaths. That’s a 12 percent decline in new cases and a 44 percent decline in deaths. Hospitalizations were down 33 percent. Tweet this.
The numberof health care providers nationwide that can no longer seek reimbursement from the Department of Health and Human Services for COVID-19 testing and treatment of uninsured patients, as of last week. Another deadline looms: April 5 is the last day health care providers may submit charges for vaccinating the uninsured. Tweet this.
The amountin reimbursements the Department of Health and Human Services has provided to medical labs, hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and clinics for caring for the uninsured since spring 2020. The program’s lapse will disproportionately harm Black and Latino Americans, who both have been hit hardest by the pandemic and are less likely to have health insurance. Tweet this.
Some 150,000 nursing home residents and 2,000 nursing home staff have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. since the pandemic began. This means just under one in six COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes. Despite this number, nearly 1 in 4 nursing home residents have yet to receive a booster shot, and only 44% of nursing home staff have received a booster. Tweet this.
Temporary pandemic unemployment insurance programs passed during the pandemic prevented5 million people from falling below the poverty line in 2020 and potentially 6 million people from falling below the poverty line in 2021. Tweet this.
President Biden’s proposed tax on individuals with wealth of at least $100 million would raise $360 billion over ten years. About 0.01 percent of taxpayers are worth $100 million, or about 20,000 households in the U.S.
Provisions included in the American Rescue Plan passed in March 2021 saved families enrolled in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces an average of $2,400 in average premiums. But those provisions are set to expire and families’ premiums will rise sharply early next year unless Congress acts.
As of late January, 180 vaccinations per 100 people had been administeredin high and upper-income countries. Some 96 vaccinations per 100 people had been administered in lower-middle income countries. And only 14 doses per 100 people were given in low-income countries. The latter figure covers 650 million people – a population largely cut off from vaccine access.
Energy prices rose3.5 percent in February and are 26 percent higher than a year ago. This includes a 38 percent year-over-year increase in the price of gasoline and a 24 percent increase in the price of natural gas, often used for home heating.
The numberof children who fell below the poverty line in February as compared to December, the last month expanded Child Tax Credit payments were paid. Over those two months, the child poverty rate soared from 12.1 percent to 16.7 percent.