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Smith Statement on the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration

May 11, 2023

House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) issued the following statement today after the Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration for COVID-19 expired.

“Today, after 1,200 days, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration is finally at an end. If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that a public health emergency declaration ought to serve the public health, not an ideological impulse to grant government more command and control over the lives and livelihoods of the American people. What we saw, unfortunately, for the past two years under the Biden Administration and in Democrat-led states was a tendency to cling to powers that had worn out their welcome and their use. Protracted nursing home lockdowns kept seniors from their families. Prolonged school closures and mask mandates for young children resulted in irrevocable learning loss. Even after declaring the “pandemic is over,” President Biden continued to argue in the Supreme Court that workers should be vaccinated or lose their jobs. On the other hand, the PHE brought to light the benefits of promoting greater flexibility in the delivery of health care in our country – for example, harnessing the potential of innovative tools like telehealth. Those lessons ought to inform how we improve our health care system to ensure more Americans can gain access to care and treatment – something that is particularly important for rural communities where traditional avenues of delivering health care are just not a reality.”