January 14, 2021

How a Democrat-Controlled Senate Could Impact the Biden Administration's COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Ken Perez
VP of Healthcare Policy Omnicell

The Democrats’ recent sweep of the United States Senate Georgia runoff elections means the Democrats will control both chambers of Congress as well as the White House for the first time since 2010. A number of Democratic leaders in Congress consider this as a clear mandate to aggressively pursue their agenda and enact “bold change.”  

Job one for the incoming administration will be the efficient distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines – as underscored by President-elect Joe Biden’s stated goal of administering 100 million doses in the first 100 days of his administration.  

In addition, Biden has advocated a $3.4 trillion economic stimulus bill. To put that figure in perspective, its cost would be almost 50% more than the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March 2020; the spend on such a bill would be equivalent to about 70% of the entire non-COVID-19-related annual federal budget for 2020. In short: this bill’s priorities may leave little political capital or budgetary room for advancing other significant initiatives, such as major health policy changes.  

Bipartisanship and Common Ground  

Biden ran on a pledge to unite the nation, so pushing for the elimination of the filibuster, which can be used to block certain bills, and ramrodding more aggressive healthcare policy changes could unify congressional Republicans. 

But the most prudent path forward could involve bipartisanship and compromise. Fortunately, there are some senior Republican senators, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who have known Biden for many years and have collaborated effectively with Democrats.  

Under this scenario, there are several health policy areas with significant bipartisan support where legislative progress would be most likely: prescription drug pricing, telehealth, price transparency, value-based care and alternative payment models, mental health, responding to the opioid crisis, and rural health.  

But the first order of business of course is getting a solid majority of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. To that end, Omnicell is supporting the COVID-19 vaccine rollout with its EnlivenHealth™ Immunization Solution that maximizes vaccination opportunities and streamlines workflow. Using automated tools for supporting scheduling, administration, documentation, and vaccine reporting, Omnicell is committed to making the vaccine accessible to all.    

DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.

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