Tag Archives: healthcare

Report: Biden COVID-19 Vaccination Program Saved 2.2 Million Lives, 17 Million Hospitalizations, $900 Billion in Health Care Costs

President Biden gets his second booster. A report from Commonwealth Fund finds that Biden’s “relentless efforts to get Americans vaccinated saved millions of American lives. Our vaccination campaign saved 2.2 million American lives, prevented 17 million hospitalizations, prevented 66 million COVID-19 cases, and avoided $900 billion in health care costs,” stated White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc

new study out today from the Commonwealth Fund shows that President Biden’s relentless efforts to get Americans vaccinated saved millions of American lives. Our vaccination campaign saved 2.2 million American lives, prevented 17 million hospitalizations, prevented 66 million COVID-19 cases, and avoided $900 billion in health care costs. 
 
This is the result of the Biden Administration’s efforts to use every tool to make vaccinations easy and convenient for every American, Congress providing us the vital resources we needed, and the American people stepping up and doing their part. 
 
We mounted a historic vaccination effort and invested in tests and treatments – empowering Americans with more tools than ever before to protect themselves. Together, we’ve spared millions of families the immeasurable loss that too many others have suffered, and turned unthinkable pain into extraordinary purpose and progress. 
 
Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress are now holding up critical funding we need to make even more progress – to save even more lives. Make no mistake: Inaction will leave our nation less prepared for any future surges and variants. It will mean fewer vaccines, treatments, and tests for the American people. This is deeply disappointing – and it should be unacceptable to every American. We’ve worked too hard and come too far to leave ourselves and our economy vulnerable to an unpredictable virus. The virus is not waiting on Congress to negotiate. Congress must act with urgency. 

Biden Administration Accelerates Whole-of-Government Effort to Prevent, Detect, and Treat Long COVID

Vaccination is still the best way to avoid death, hospitalization or the debilitating effects of COVID, still, the Biden Administration is accelerating a whole-of-government effort to prevent, detect, and treat Long COVID. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

As President Biden just took action to expand access to the Affordable Care Act – amid calls by Republicans once again to repeal it if they regain control of Congress – it is important to keep in mind that 75 million Americans have contracted COVID-19, and millions of them are experiencing the effects of Long- OVID, and thus have pre-existing conditions. Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act is known, protects people with pre-existing conditions as well as ends lifetime caps on coverage and keeps children on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. There were 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions before the coronavirus.

Biden has said that health care is a right, not a privilege, and has taken several actions – besides expanding access (some 30 million now take advantage of affordable Obamacare) – to improve health care. That includes mounting the massive vaccination program that has saved millions of lives, testing and new treatments; he is trying to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, particularly insulin (from $4000 month to $35/month), and launched a $5 billion research program to address some of the worst killers including cancer and Alzheimer’s. Now the Biden Administration is accelerating the whole-of-government effort to prevent, detect and treat Long COVID. Here’s a fact sheet from the White House–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The U.S. has made tremendous progress in our fight against COVID-19. Today, Americans have the tools they need to protect against and treat the virus. At the same time, millions of individuals continue to experience prolonged illness from COVID-19, known as “Long COVID.” Many report debilitating, lasting symptoms that can persist long after the acute COVID-19 infection has resolved, and can manifest in anyone who has had COVID-19. These symptoms often look like those associated with other chronic medical conditions.
 
The Administration has mobilized to advance our nation’s understanding of Long COVID and its associated conditions, promote high-quality care for patients, and help individuals access supportive services—especially for those from communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The President’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan makes clear that we are committed to accelerating these efforts, with additional support and resources from Congress.
 
President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate a new effort across the federal government to develop and issue the first-ever interagency national research action plan on Long COVID. The effort will advance progress in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and provision of services, supports, and interventions for individuals experiencing Long COVID and associated conditions. The Presidential Memorandum also directs HHS to issue a report outlining services and supports across federal agencies to assist people experiencing Long COVID, individuals who are dealing with a COVID-related loss, and people who are experiencing mental health and substance use issues related to the pandemic. This report will specifically address the long-term effects of COVID-19 on high-risk communities and efforts to address disparities in access to services and supports.
 
Today’s announcement builds on the Administration’s ongoing work to implement the recommendations of the Presidential COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. It also builds on a number of additional actions the Administration is taking to support the millions of Americans experiencing Long COVID and their families by delivering high-quality care and expanding access to services and supports, as well as actions to advance efforts to detect, prevent, and treat Long COVID.
 
These actions include:
 
Delivering high-quality care for individuals experiencing Long COVID: As a complex condition that can affect multiple organ systems, Long COVID may require care and coordination across multiple medical specialties. The Administration recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in new members of the disability community and has had a tremendous impact on people with disabilities. The Administration will continue to center the voices of patients in this work and is advancing efforts to deliver high-quality, high-value care to people experiencing Long COVID—especially communities hardest-hit by COVID-19. In collaboration with patients, payers, and providers across the care continuum, the Administration will accelerate and disseminate clinical support and best practices to promote coordinated, integrated care models and expand access to high-quality care in communities across the country.

  • Launching Centers of Excellence and promoting evidence-based care models: Through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget will invest in a multi-year initiative, beginning with $20 million in FY23, to investigate how health care systems can best organize and deliver care for people with Long COVID, provide telementoring and expert consultation for primary care practices, and advance the development of multispecialty clinics to provide complex care. This work would fund institutions across the country that bring together leading researchers and care providers across the full care continuum – including hospitals, health centers, long-term care services and supports, and other providers – and promote the implementation of new evidence into care, especially for disproportionately affected populations. As information emerges on effective Long COVID treatments and care, AHRQ in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH)—in collaboration with clinical leaders, professional societies, and the national academies—will build on existing interim clinical guidance to get providers and patients the care information they need.
     
  • Expanding and strengthening Long COVID clinics: Across the country, 18 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities have already established Long COVID care programs, consolidating multidisciplinary clinical expertise in locations veterans know and trust. The VA will expand on the success of these programs by establishing additional Long COVID programs and robust referral and follow-up systems across its facilities. These programs, and others established by hospitals and health systems across the country, are serving as a source of rapid learning and long-term research on best practices and new therapies, along with the broader provider, patient, and scientific community. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) will launch the Health+ project to gain insights into the experiences and patient journeys of people living with Long COVID and associated conditions, to help inform high-quality care and contribute to standardized best practices at Long COVID clinics.
  • Promoting provider education and clinical support: The Administration will continue to work with providers to advance our recognition and understanding of Long COVID and associated conditions, including by sharing culturally competent information and resources through platforms like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Learning Network and Indian Health Service (IHS) provider education and partnerships with academic institutions. The Administration will also launch targeted clinician and medical coder education on the ICD-10-CM code (U09.9) effective last year to support diagnosis, billing, and tracking of Long COVID. To further support equitable access to high-quality care in communities hard-hit by the pandemic, the Administration, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will continue to build sustainable telementoring programs and networks in rural and medically underserved communities. HHS will additionally convene experts across the country to provide recommendations to our nation’s providers on best practices in the identification and management of the mental and behavioral health disorders associated with Long COVID.  
  • Bolstering health insurance coverage for Long COVID care: The Administration is working to make Long COVID care as accessible as possible. CMS has clarified that, under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) requirement that state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs cover treatments for COVID-19, states must also cover treatments and therapies for Long COVID. Additionally, the essential health benefits (EHB) provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) generally provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, including Long COVID, though coverage and cost-sharing details vary by plan. CMS has also expanded Medicare coverage for pulmonary rehabilitation services for Long COVID care beginning in the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule. Moving forward, the Administration will continue to assess opportunities to enhance access to care for Long COVID and its associated symptoms through Medicare, Medicaid, insurance marketplace coverage, and other options. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will also increase awareness of Long COVID among Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) Program carriers—serving over 8.2 million federal employees, retirees, and their families—and call on them to closely monitor care for individuals with Long COVID. OPM will additionally enhance enrollee education on plans’ coverage of the assessment and treatment of Long COVID and associated symptoms such as respiratory illness and chronic fatigue.

 
Making services and supports available for individuals experiencing Long COVID: The Administration continues to work to understand Long COVID and its impact across populations, including how it interacts with other medical and physical conditions. Individuals with Long COVID may need help doing things they did by themselves in the past, or may need accommodations in their daily activities based on changes in their abilities. In addition to the Long COVID guidance package released during the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Administration is raising awareness of Long COVID as a potential cause of disability, and strengthening services and supports available for individuals experiencing Long COVID.

  • Raising awareness of Long COVID as a potential cause of disability: To protect individuals with Long COVID from discrimination, HHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have released guidance explaining that some individuals with Long COVID may have a disability under civil rights laws, including the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The Department of Education (ED) also released a resource to support children, students, educators, schools, service providers, and families—providing information about Long COVID as a disability and about schools’ and public agencies’ responsibilities for the provision of services and reasonable modifications to children and students for whom Long COVID is a cause of a disability. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) are continuing to disseminate resources to help people with Long COVID understand if they have a disability, educate people on their rights, and to inform organizations of their obligations.
     
  • Translating research into inclusive disability policy: Through the Social Security Administration’s close collaboration with research agencies and other entities, the Administration will continue to clarify and update policy guidance as the science develops to support inclusive disability policy and claims adjudication processes through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) programs for individuals experiencing Long COVID. This includes building on its Emergency Message on Evaluating Cases with COVID-19 and continuing to be responsive to findings from the medical and scientific communities about the types of evidence that can help establish impairments and identify functional limitations linked to Long COVID, when appropriate. Additionally, ACL and the Department of Labor (DOL) continue to elevate experiences of individuals with disability due to Long COVID, including on return-to-work.
     
  • Connecting people with the resources they need: The Administration will help connect people with Long COVID to information, resources, and service and support options. This includes incorporating multilingual information and support into the CDC-INFO call centerDisability Information and Access Line (DIAL), and call centers run by CMS—which together receive over 3 million calls each month—and providing Long COVID-specific trainings for customer service representatives. Through ACL’s DIAL and Eldercare Locator, the Administration will also continue to connect older adults and individuals with disabilities to critical local services, such as transportation to receive care. IHS will additionally train business office and benefit administrator staff to assist Tribal communities in navigating Long COVID. SAMHSA will additionally collaborate with stakeholders to advance our understanding of the mental health effects of COVID-19 and promote high-quality mental and behavioral health care services for those who need it.
     
  • Strengthening support for workers experiencing Long COVID: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and DOL recently released guidance on access to equitable employment opportunities for people experiencing the impact of COVID-19 and the symptoms of Long COVID. To protect workers experiencing Long COVID, DOL, in coordination with the EEOC, will continue supporting enforcement of the ADA, and other federal disability related nondiscrimination requirements for all workers. DOL’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) also helps individuals with Long COVID remain in or return to their jobs. This includes both resources to empower workers to request and negotiate accommodations, as well as resources for employers on effective accommodation strategies. Additionally, through the legal networks funded by ACL, the Administration will continue to support legal assistance related to Long COVID to older adults and people with disabilities.

 
Advancing the nation’s understanding of Long COVID: Robust data and information are essential to our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term effects. The Administration will support and accelerate research to understand, prevent, diagnose, treat, advance non-discrimination for, and otherwise support individuals with Long COVID. This includes efforts to better identify and characterize Long COVID – including with respect to its frequency, severity, duration, and risk factors; account for its impact on hard-hit and high-risk populations; and better understand its symptoms—including anxiety and depression, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, heart palpitations, disordered sleep, chest and joint pain, and headache. These symptoms may look like those associated with other chronic medical conditions—including dysautonomia, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). In collaboration with patients, academia, providers, and other stakeholders, the Administration will continue to take critical steps to advance our scientific understanding in order to prevent, detect, and treat Long COVID.

  • Launching the first-ever National Research Action Plan on Long COVID: Today, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate a new effort across the federal government to develop and issue the first-ever interagency national research action plan on Long COVID. The effort will advance progress in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and provision of services, supports, and interventions for individuals experiencing Long COVID. This effort, building on the landmark Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative and other initiatives across the federal government, will advance our understanding of Long COVID, foster the development of new treatments and care models, and inform services, support, and interventions for individuals experiencing Long COVID.
     
  • Accelerating enrollment into the RECOVER Initiative: Last year, the NIH launched its $1.15 billion RECOVER Initiative to advance our understanding of and ability to predict, treat, and prevent Long COVID. To help catalyze progress, the Administration will accelerate the enrollment of approximately 40,000 individuals with and without Long COVID into RECOVER’s longitudinal observational arm—in addition to advancing RECOVER’s pathobiology studies, EHR studies, and clinical trials. Equity remains at the center of the Administration’s COVID-19 response efforts, and RECOVER will focus on enrolling individuals across all ages, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses—including pregnant people, individuals with disabilities, and those from the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. RECOVER will also continue to bolster its patient-centered approach, leveraging its National Community Engagement Group—comprised of patient representatives across its pathobiology task forces and executive, steering, and oversight committees—to enable patients to shape research design and execution, listen for community feedback, and learn from patients’ first-hand experience.
     
  • Making further investments to advance Long COVID research and surveillance: Building on the $50 million CDC has already invested, the President’s FY23 budget has requested $25 million to answer key questions on the characteristics, risk factors, underlying mechanisms, and health impacts of Long COVID—through clinician engagement, electronic health data analyses, and grant funding. This includes through the Innovative Support for Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infections Registry (INSPIRE) study by CDC, which will follow nearly 6,000 individuals nationwide for up to 18 months, and other dedicated research in Tribal and other hard-hit, high-risk communities.
     
  • Leveraging the power of federal data: With its robust, national health care databases, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wealth of information on the risks and burdens of COVID-19. Using data from over 600,000 individuals with COVID-19, the VA will continue advancing its work to assess the different health impacts of COVID-19 over time. This includes building on its already published analyses relying on EHR data on kidneycardiovascular, and mental health outcomes in people who have gotten COVID-19, through a national study surveying infected Veterans and uninfected controls about persistent symptoms. Additionally, the Department of Defense (DOD) has launched the Epidemiology, Immunology, and Clinical Characteristics of Emerging Infectious Diseases with Pandemic Potential (EPICC) study of Military Health System beneficiaries to help determine effects of COVID-19 and define clinical strategies to address them. This foundational study will not only support our military medical readiness but also our broader understanding of the disease.
     
  • Identifying workplace interventions that help keep individuals connected: To inform the development of inclusive disability policies and benefits, the DOL is scaling its work to identify early intervention strategies for workers who experience injuries or illnesses, including Long COVID, when working. DOL is expanding beyond its initial pilot study—to Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, and Vermont—to help workers find alternatives as they decide whether to stay at or return to work following an illness like Long COVID.

Biden Acts to Expand Affordable Care Act, Fix ‘Family Glitch’, Lower Health Care Costs

With former President Barack Obama making his first visit to the White House since leaving office, President Joe Biden took action to expand access to the Affordable Care Act, fix the “family glitch” and lower health care costs for one million Americans. The ACA is stronger now than it has ever been and today we are strengthening it further,” Biden declared. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

President Joe Biden, with former President Barack Obama at his side, signed an Executive Order to expand access to the Affordable Care Act, which he said was fittingly dubbed “Obamacare”, fix the “family glitch” and lower health care costs for one million Americans. Recalling the difficulty of passing Obamacare, Biden remarked on Obama’s unwavering commitment toward the goal of universal health care, where a medical emergency wouldn’t bankrupt a family and people did not live with the insecurity of being denied coverage. Obama reflecting on the strong opposition from Republicans – who have attempted to repeal the ACA more than 70 times, and only last week, vowed to repeal it when they regain control of Congress – said that compromises had to be made in order to achieve what presidents had failed to do for 100 years in providing access to health care. As Biden said, it was the most consequential legislation since Medicare of 1965. Obama said it was always recognized that the law would need to be improved. That’s what Biden did today.

From day one of his presidency, Biden has worked to expand access to health care, and now, some 30 million have health insurance coverage because of Obamacare, while 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions are assured of having health insurance (a number that will be vastly expanded with over 75 million having contracted COVID-19 and millions suffering effects of Long-COVID), children can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, and there are no longer lifetime caps on coverage. Here’s a Fact Sheet from the White House on how Biden-Harris Administration proposes to fix the “family glitch” and lower health care costs – the most significant administrative action to improve implementation of Obamacare since its enactment 12 years ago. “The ACA is stronger now than it has ever been and today we are strengthening it further,” Biden declared.

President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that health care is a right, not a privilege. They promised to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), lowering costs and expanding coverage so that every American has the peace of mind that health insurance brings.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration continues to deliver on that promise. Thanks to the landmark American Rescue Plan, ACA premiums are at an all-time low, while enrollment is at an all-time high. Four out of five Americans can find quality coverage for under $10 a month, and families are saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums—$200 in savings every month back to families. The Administration has lowered costs and increased enrollment to a record high of 14.5 million Americans—including nearly 6 million who newly gained coverage. With the addition of Missouri and Oklahoma, two states that expanded Medicaid last year, nearly 19 million low-income Americans are enrolled in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion coverage, adding up to a record nearly 80 million children, pregnant women, seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income Americans covered by Medicaid.
 
PROPOSING TO FIX THE “FAMILY GLITCH”
 
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a rule to strengthen the ACA by fixing the “family glitch,” which would save hundreds of thousands of families hundreds of dollars a month.
 
Under the ACA, people who do not have access to “affordable” health insurance through their jobs may qualify for a premium tax credit to purchase affordable, high-quality coverage on the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. Current regulations define employer-based health insurance as “affordable” if the coverage solely for the employee, and not for family members, is affordable, making family members ineligible for a premium tax credit even though they need it to afford high-quality coverage through the Marketplace.  For family members of an employee offered health coverage through an employer, the cost of that family coverage can sometimes be very expensive and make health insurance out of reach. The “family glitch” affects about 5 million people and has made it impossible for many families to use the premium tax credit to purchase an affordable, high-quality Marketplace plan.
 
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are proposing to eliminate the “family glitch.” Should today’s proposed rule be finalized, family members of workers who are offered affordable self-only coverage but unaffordable family coverage may qualify for premium tax credits to buy ACA coverage. Should the proposed change be made, it’s estimated that 200,000 uninsured people would gain coverage, and nearly 1 million Americans would see their coverage become more affordable. Many families would be able to save hundreds of dollars a month thanks to lower premiums. This proposed rule would amount to the most significant administrative action to improve implementation of the ACA since its enactment.
 
EXECUTIVE ORDER CONTINUING TO STRENGTHEN AMERICANS’ ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, QUALITY HEALTH COVERAGE
 
Last January, President Biden signed an Executive Order directing federal agencies to take action to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Today, President Biden is building on that directive with a new Executive Order directing federal agencies to continue doing everything in their power to expand affordable, quality health coverage. This includes:

  • Making it easier for people to enroll in and keep their coverage.
     
  • Helping people better understand their coverage options so they can pick the best one for them.
     
  • Strengthening and improving the generosity of benefits and improving access to health care providers.
     
  • Improving the comprehensiveness of coverage and protecting Americans from low-quality coverage.
     
  • Continuing to make health coverage more accessible and affordable by expanding eligibility and lowering costs for Americans with ACA, Medicare, or Medicaid coverage.
     
  • Connecting people to health care services by improving access to health care providers and linkages between the health care system and communities to help Americans with health-related needs.
     
  • Taking steps to help reduce the burden of medical debt that far too many Americans experience.

 
ADDITIONAL EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN THE ACA AND MEDICAID
 
These latest actions build on months of work to strengthen the ACA and Medicaid by lowering costs and expanding coverage.

  • Lowered premiums and out of pocket costs for millions of Americans. As the biggest expansion of affordable health care since the ACA, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) included enhanced subsidies that lowered premiums for 9 million Americans by an average of $50 per month per person. The enhanced subsidies helped expand the availability of free and low-cost health plans to millions of consumers with nearly half of existing consumers able to enroll in a silver level plan with no premium and 70 percent of existing able to enroll in a low-premium silver plan. In addition, the Administration lowered the cap on total out-of-pocket costs by $400 in 2022.
     
  • Made it easier to sign up for affordable coverage, including opening a Special Enrollment Period in 2021. In addition to opening a Special Enrollment Period last year, which enabled nearly 3 million Americans to newly sign up for coverage under the ACA, the Administration extended HealthCare.gov’s Open Enrollment period by one month, giving people more time to sign up for coverage The Administration operated the most successful Open Enrollment Period in history last year, with a historic 14.5 million Americans signing up for ACA coverage and another million people signing up for the Basic Health Program, an alternative coverage program created by the ACA.  The Administration also eliminated unnecessary paperwork and increased outreach, quadrupling the number of trained Navigators to help Americans sign up for coverage on HealthCare.gov. These efforts helped reach communities that have historically been left behind, with the HealthCare.gov enrollment rate increasing by 26 percent for Hispanic Americans and 35 percent for Black Americans.
     
  • Facilitated the expansion of Medicaid in Missouri and Oklahoma. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) helped Missouri and Oklahoma become the 38th and 39th states to expand Medicaid, which will cover nearly half a million more low-income Americans in those two states. Missouri and Oklahoma are also taking advantage of the ARP’s financial incentive to expand Medicaid, which is expected to provide an extra $968 million and $500 million in federal dollars to these states, respectively. 
     
  • Expanded and strengthened access to home care for millions of older Americans and people with disabilities. The ARP provided states with increased Medicaid funding to help expand access to home care services, furthering the Administration’s commitment to ensuring people can get the care they need in their homes and communities.  The additional Medicaid funding will also help states strengthen their home- and community-based services programs by investing in the home care workforce and other innovations to improve the delivery of care.
     
  • Provided new options to help people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Thanks to the ARP, states can now receive enhanced Medicaid funding to establish mobile crisis intervention services teams to help provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries experiencing a behavioral health crisis.  This new option is a key component in the Administration’s strategy to address the Nation’s mental health crisis by ensuring that Medicaid beneficiaries experiencing a behavioral health crisis can get connected to the care they need.
     
  • Tackled the maternal health crisis. Medicaid covers more than 40 percent of births in the United States. Thanks to the ARP and the Vice President’s leadership, the Biden-Harris Administration partnered with Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, and Louisiana to make sure new moms can keep their Medicaid coverage for a year after they deliver. Another 9 states are in the process of seeking CMS approval to expand postpartum coverage to their states as well. Based on HHS estimates, more than 83,000 beneficiaries across five states will benefit from this extended post-partum coverage during the critical first year after delivery.

On 1-Year Anniversary of American Rescue Plan, Highlighting the Difference in People’s Lives

ARP powered historic jobs recovery – with the largest calendar increase in jobs on record, unemployment down to 3.8%, and record drops in Hispanic Unemployment and Youth Unemployment – and ensured less scarring than any recovery in memory.

Among the ways the American Rescue Plan, signed a year ago, had a positive impact on people’s lives is funding the distribution of 200 million vaccines and millions of therapeutics, saving lives and spurring the biggest, fastest rebound in the economy in the world © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With the focus on Ukraine’s desperate fight against Russia’s criminal war and President Joe Biden’s role in marshaling the free world in its defense, little attention is being paid to the Biden Administration’s domestic actions that are having real achievements. On the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan, the White House highlighted the difference the ARP is making in ordinary people’s lives; – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Lowering Health Care Costs and Increasing Health Coverage

  • 14.5 million Americans – the most ever – signed up for ACA marketplace plans due to, on average, 50% lower costs in premiums for returning consumers.
    • Nationwide, existing consumers with a new or updated plan selection after ARP saved an average of $67 (or 50%) per consumer per month on premiums, totaling $537 million per month in savings. In twenty states and the District of Columbia, existing consumers saved over $75 per month, on average, due to the ARP.
       
  • 5.8 million more Americans have health insurance today than a year ago. Between 2016 and 2019, 3.6 million Americans lost coverage.
     
  • A family of four is saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums. Four out of five consumers could find quality coverage for under $10 a month.
     

Investing in Mental Health:

  • $3 billion invested in expanding access to mental health and substance use services at the state level – largest one-time investment in history for mental health and substance use programs.
     
  • Billions more in American Rescue Plan funding are being used to address mental health challenges affecting our children, including through hiring school social workers and counselors. With the help of American Rescue Plan K-12 funding, schools have already seen a 65% increase in social workers, and a 17% increase in counselors. 

 
Fighting COVID

  • Distributed 200 million vaccines, and millions of therapeutics using ARP dollars.
     
  • 375 million at-home tests per month now available; before ARP, no at-home tests.
     
  • $14.5 billion to address COVID for America’s veterans, including support for 37,000 homeless veterans.

 
Getting Kids Back in School

  • Today, 99% of schools are openBefore ARPonly 46% of schools were open in-person.
     
  • Major Investments in Keeping Schools Open, Combatting Learning Loss & Addressing Mental Health Challenges: Independent experts estimate based on school district plans that 59% of school districts are using ARP funds to hire/retain teachers and counselors, 35% are using ARP funds to hire/retain psychologists and mental health staff, and 52% are using ARP funds for HVAC and ventilation.
     
  • A survey from the School Superintendents Association indicated 82% of superintendents plan to use funds to expand social, emotional, mental and physical health and development.

 
Supporting Working Families

  • Expanded Child Tax Credit for Working Families – Helping Deliver Record Lows in Child Poverty.
    • The 2021 CTC will reach a record nearly 40 million families with 65 million children.
    • Expanded $3,000 credit for kids age 6-17 and $3,600 for kids under 6
    • Experts estimate that the Child Tax Credit was the main driver in the American Rescue Plan bringing child poverty to record lows in 2021– including record low Black and Hispanic child poverty.
       
  • Economic Impact Payments for Vast Majority of Americans
    • Over 170 million Economic Impact Payments to 85% of all Americans – including an additional 19+ million payments to Social Security beneficiaries, 3 million payments to SSI beneficiaries, and 320,000 payments to Veterans who would not have received these benefits under normal tax filing requirements.
       
  • Ensured Kids didn’t go hungry in the summer
    • Estimated 30 million kids fed with first nationwide Summer supplemental nutrition program – more than 10x higher than 2019 summer meals for kids.
       
  • Unprecedented Emergency Rental Relief and Eviction Prevention
    • Over 4 million Emergency Rental Assistance payments to tenants in a single year – by orders of magnitude the largest eviction prevention effort in history.
    • Eviction filings at just 60% of historic averages in 5 months after CDC moratorium – even though some had projected an eviction tsunami.
       
  • More than doubled the amount of LIHEAP – the most ever going to help with Heating and Cooling Costs of well over 5 million households

 
Helping People Get Back to Work

  • Most One-Time Support for Childcare Providers Ever to Keep Them Open and Operating
    • 150,000+ providers supported by childcare stabilization payments so far, the most support for childcare providers ever.
    • More than 5 million children served by these providers.
       
  • Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for Workers
    • Tripled EITC for 17 million workers without dependent children from $540 to $1500 – first increase since 1993 – and extended the credit to younger & older workers.
    • Helping millions of front-line workers: This expansion will help nearly 1.8 million cashiers and retail salespeople; almost 1 million cooks and food prep workers; and more than 850,000 nurses and health aides, 500,000 janitors, 400,000 truck and delivery drivers, and 300,000 childcare workers.
       
  • Getting Americans Back to Work with State and Local Investments
    • Over half of states and scores of cities across the country have invested in workforce development, apprenticeships, training, and premium pay for essential workers – with premium pay to nearly 750,000 essential workers.
    • State and local governments added 467,000 jobs in 2021 – best year since 2001.

Staying True to Our Veterans:

  • ARP provided resources for veterans currently receiving housing support, including an estimated 37,000 homeless veterans.
     
  • ARP cancelled health care copayment charges for 2.5 million veterans during the pandemic – worth $1 billion.
     
  • ARP Child Tax Credit expansion meant that roughly 5 million children in veteran and Active Duty families are receiving the credit for 2021, per CBPP estimates.
     
  • ARP invested in 16,000 veterans’ health care with ARP funds for 158 State Veterans Homes operations and for State Veterans Home renovations and capital projects.
  • ARP funding is enabling the Veterans Benefits Administration to reduce the claims backlog from 212,000 in March 2021 to 100,000 by September 2022.  

 
Rescuing and Transforming Our Communities:

  • Dozens of cities and 21 states have already committed ARP Fiscal Recovery Funds to public safety, including critical investments in gun crime prevention – hiring and retaining police officers for community policing and investing in critical technology to take on increases in gun and other violent crimes, and supporting evidence-based community violence interventions and summer youth employment.
     
  • State and local, Education and HUD investments in affordable housing and fighting homelessness:
    • ARP Department of Education program to provide services and enable full attendance for students experiencing homelessness will reach 1.5 million children. 
    • ARP added about 70,000 emergency vouchers to the rental market through HUD.
    • ARP funded new housing counseling program which is expected to provide 80,000 housing counseling sessions.
    • Roughly half of cities and states are investing some portion of their State and Local Funds in housing assistance and investments  from New Jersey’s $750 million eviction prevention and utilities program to Austin and Travis County’s $200 million ARP investment in a comprehensive plan to take on its homelessness crisis.
       
  • Broadband Investments underway across the country: 20 states have already invested Fiscal Recovery Funds to expand broadband access – in addition to $10 billion Capital Projects Fund which they can use to help ensure that all communities have access to high quality modern infrastructure needed to access critical services, including broadband.
    • Even with more on the way, states and territories have already announced about $9 billion in ARP investments to expand high speed internet access.
       
  • Long-needed investments in clean water: with 21 states already committing Fiscal Recovery Funds to improve water and sewer infrastructure, including removing lead pipes.
    • Even with more on the way, states and territories have already announced investing $7.5 billion in ARP funds for water and sewer improvements.

Providing Permanent Tax Relief for Puerto Rico Families

  • Made hundreds of thousands of families in Puerto Rico eligible for CTC for first time – previously ~90% of families excluded from CTC.
     
  • First-ever Federal Support for Puerto Rico’s EITC, more than tripling workers’ benefits.

Most support ever for Tribal Communities

  • $32 billion to Tribal communities and Native people, the largest in assistance to tribal governments in history.

FACT SHEET:
How The American Rescue Plan Is Keeping America’s Schools Open Safely, Combating Learning Loss, And Addressing Student Mental Health
 

On March 11, 2021 – one year ago – President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act into law, an unprecedented $1.9 trillion package of emergency assistance measures. The ARP provides a historic investment in America’s preschool through twelfth grade (P-12) schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to keep schools safely open, tackle learning loss and mental health. These funds include $122 billion for P-12 schools in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. ARP also dedicated an additional $8 billion to states and school districts to meet the needs of certain student populations, including over $3 billion for students with disabilities and $800 million for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
 
ARP has already had a significant impact on schools across the country: over the last year, states, school districts, and schools have used these funds to safely reopen and sustain in-person instruction, combat learning loss, and address students’ mental health needs.
 
In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden called on schools to hire more teachers, urged the American people to sign up to be tutors and mentors, and – as part of his unity agenda – encouraged the country to come together to address child mental health. ARP ESSER funds are supporting this agenda in several ways:

  • Schools have gone from 46% open before ARP to 99% safe and open today: Before ARP was signed into law, just 46 percent of America’s P-12 schools were open for full-time, in-person learning. Today, over 99 percent of P-12 schools are open for full-time, in-person instruction.
     
  • ARP led to record growth in local education jobs that are critical to meeting students’ academic and mental health needs: Although there is more work to do to address longstanding educator shortages and return to pre-pandemic levels, ARP has led to record jobs growth in the education sector. With the help of ARP ESSER funding, local governments added more than 279,000 education jobs in 2021 – the best calendar year of jobs growth since records began in 1956 – and added an additional nearly 46,000 jobs in the first two months of 2022. Schools have already seen a 65% increase in social workers and a 17% increase in counselors relative to before the pandemic.
     
  • Analysis of school district plans shows overwhelming majority of funds are being used for priorities like teachers, counselors, academic recovery, mental health, and health and safety measures like ventilation improvements:  FutureEd – an education think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy – analyzed data on a representative sample of over 3,000 school districts’ plans covering 55% of ARP ESSER funds. This analysis showed:
    • Nearly 60% of funds are being used to:
      • invest in staffing – both retaining current staff and expanding professional development opportunities, as well as recruiting, hiring and training of new teachers, school staff and mental health professionals to increase school capacity and meet the academic and mental health needs of students;
      • combat learning loss through student support programs such as evidence-based tutoring, expanded after-school and summer learning and enrichment programs, and the purchase of millions of new textbooks and learning materials; and 
      • supporting the physical and mental health of students and educators.
    • Another 24% is being invested in keeping schools operating safely, including providing PPE and updating school facilities to support health and safety. This includes investments in lead abatement and an estimated nearly $10 billion for improvements to HVAC and ventilation.
       
  • ARP has fueled investments in education spending and accelerated the rate of spending of education relief funds by five to six times: Before the passage of ARP, states and school districts were spending a total of a little more than $500 million per month of federal emergency relief funds for education. Since the passage of the ARP and the assurance to states and school districts that critical funds were on their way, the monthly rate of spending of ESSER funds from ARP and earlier relief legislation has accelerated to more than $3 billion per month – an increase of five to six times.
     
  • All 50 states submitted clear spending plans that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education: On March 24, less than two weeks after ARP was signed, two-thirds of funds – $81 billion – were released. To ensure funds would be used effectively, states had to submit and receive approval on their spending plan to receive their final third of funds. As of December 2021, every state, plus DC and Puerto Rico, submitted a plan, the U.S. Department of Education has approved all plans, and all $122 billion in ARP ESSER funds have been made available to states.
     
  • Survey of 600 school superintendents shows school leaders are meeting the challenge of the President’s unity agenda by using funds for students’ mental health and other developmental needs: The COVID-19 pandemic has subjected many young Americans to social isolation, loss of routines, and traumatic grief – increasing the need for mental health supports. A recent survey by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, found that 82% of districts plan to use funds to address this need by expanding supports for social, emotional, mental, and physical health and development.
     
  • States and school districts have deployed funds strategically while engaging meaningfully with their communities – including parents: In developing their spending plans, states and school districts were required to engage members of the community, including parents, educators, students, representatives of students with disabilities and others. The U.S. Department of Education continues to encourage states and school districts to consult with these critical partners on how to ensure these funds have the most impact in classrooms.

ARP ESSER-Funded State and District Activities
From the U.S. Department of Education
 
Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations
Safely reopening schools and keeping them open safely are essential for student learning and well-being. 

  • Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas has allocated ARP ESSER funds to campuses for COVID-19 mitigation efforts. HISD has provided COVID-19 testing at 90 percent of its campuses and has hosted nearly 100 vaccine clinics.
     
  • The DeKalb County School District in Georgia upgraded air filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13 in every school facility that could accommodate that size filter and took steps to improve ventilation in all other schools using ARP ESSER funding.
     
  • White Plains City School District in New York will use a combination of local and federal funds to replace the HVAC units across their district to provide a safer learning environment for students and staff. Upon completion, the total project will cost $26.3 million, with nearly one-third of the funding coming from relief funds, including ARP ESSER.

Combating Learning Loss
States and school districts have the resources they need, and are required to address the impacts of the pandemic on students’ learning. States and districts nationwide are using funds to hire teachers and other instructional staff, launch tutoring, summer and afterschool programs (which states are required to fund), and make long-overdue investments in instructional materials. States are specifically required to address the needs of students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including students with disabilities, English learners, and students experiencing homelessness.
 
Recruiting, Retaining, and Expanding Professional Development of Staff:

  • Maine School Administrative District 11 is addressing gaps in learning opportunities by using ARP ESSER funds to hire nine new teachers and implement a new math, language arts, and social studies program. The additional teachers permitted the district to reduce class sizes from 22-24 students to an average of 14-16 students. The district has provided external and internal coaching, ongoing professional learning, and additional support to educators and staff.
     
  • Gaston County Schools in North Carolina is adding an additional teacher and a temporary employee per school to decrease class sizes, help manage workloads and provide classroom coverage in each of its 54 schools using ARP ESSER funding. This supports and helps retain current teachers, who are less likely to have to give up planning time to cover another classroom, or combine classrooms, and also benefits students whose learning is less likely to be disrupted by the absence of another teacher.
     
  • The Asheville City Schools Board of Education in North Carolina is using ARP ESSER funds for a bonus of $3,000 to $3,500 over the course of the year for full-time teachers and faculty in order to increase staff retention.
     
  • Providence Public School District in Rhode Island is launching new incentives to recruit and retain highly-qualified educators, including early signing bonuses for newly-hired educators and support staff in hard-to-fill positions using  ARP ESSER funding.

Summer Learning and Enrichment:  

  • In New Mexico, the College and Career Readiness Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department launched the Summer Enrichment Internship Program in 2021 using ARP ESSER funding. The program covers the cost of summer internships for New Mexico high school students and provides high school students, particularly those most impacted by the pandemic, with the opportunity to participate in high-quality internships in government agencies, including county, tribal, and municipal placements. Over 300 community partners and 1,200 student interns participated across 26 counties. Summer jobs programs like these that engage students are also important community violence intervention strategies. This program will continue in the summer of 2022 as well.
     
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District in Ohio used ARP ESSER funds to increase summer learning participation seven-fold. In 2021, 8,400 students participated in summer school, compared to 1,000-1,200 students in previous years. Focused on “Finish, Enrich, and Engage,” the expanded summer school offered 12 weeks of programming that allowed for credit accumulation and unfinished learning. Students engaged in problem-based learning units in the morning with engagement activities like clubs and sports in the afternoon. This inclusive programming, which included students with disabilities and multilingual learners, will continue in summer 2022.
     
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Education is using ARP ESSER funds to implement evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs and to expand afterschool programming through partnerships with community organizations. They provide for social, emotional, and academic support and access to technology. This initial investment of $6 million provided services through 28 organizations, at 140 sites, serving an average 11,000 students a month through the summer of 2021.

Tutoring: 

  • The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education has established the Arkansas Tutoring Corps using ARP ESSER funding. The Arkansas Tutoring Corps program includes recruitment, preparation, and support for candidates to become qualified tutors to provide instruction or intervention to meet the academic needs of students most impacted by lost instructional time. A system connects prepared candidates with organizations seeking to support students’ academic needs. The program is already enhancing learning experiences of students due to loss of instructional time and addressing gaps in foundational skills in mathematics and literacy.

 
Meeting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs
Districts and states must use a portion of ARP ESSER funds for evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ social, and emotional needs – such as the ability to collaborate with others or persist through difficult challenges – and to support students’ mental health. Districts must specifically address the impact of the pandemic on groups of students that were disproportionately impacted. 
 
Hiring Counselors and Increasing Supports:

  • The Kansas Department of Education has developed a Grow Your Own Counselor model with ARP ESSER funding that encourages districts to identify candidates and employ them as student services coordinators while they develop their skills in an approved school counseling graduate program.
     
  • The Nevada Department of Education has allocated $7.5 million to support districts in hiring 100 additional school based mental health professionals. Using ARP ESSER funding, the state is spending $1.7 million to hire a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support coach for every district.
     
  • Plymouth-Canton Community Schools in Michigan hired three full-time high school counseling staff to decrease counselor caseloads with ARP ESSER funding. Counselors are now able to dedicate more time to individual student meetings, attend meetings with assistant principals and deans to review academic progress and other needs of students, and develop a wellness center at each campus.

Community Schools:

  • The New York City Department of Education announced an investment of $10 million to expand the district’s research-based community schools initiative from 266 to 406 sites citywide using ARP ESSER funding. These schools provide integrated student support services to students and the surrounding community, such as mental health care, adult education courses, community violence intervention programs, and nutrition support.

Strengthening the Educator Workforce
The pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s educators as well as its students. States and districts should support and stabilize the educator workforce and make staffing decisions that will help address students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs. 

  • The Tennessee Department of Education has created a “Grow Your Own” grant with federal funding, including ARP ESSER, that is designed to foster partnerships between educator preparation programs (EPPs) and districts to provide promising and innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession by increasing EPP enrollment and growing the supply of qualified teachers. The program is currently comprised of 65 partnerships between 14 EPPs and 63 districts across the state – enabling over 650 future educators to become a Tennessee teacher for free. $6.5 million has been allocated to this program thus far. Tennessee also pioneered a pathway with the U.S. Department of Labor by establishing the nation’s first registered apprenticeship program for teachers, which will help sustain the state’s Grow Your Own programs and partnerships leveraging federal apprenticeship funding.  

Biden Reignites Cancer Moonshot to ‘End Cancer as We Know It’

Biden-Harris Administration Sets Goal of Reducing Cancer Death Rate by at least 50 Percent Over the Next 25 Years, and Improving the Experience of Living with and Surviving Cancer

President Joe Biden, reigniting the Cancer Moonshot begun when he was Vice President, has set a goal of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and improving the experience of living with and surviving cancer © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com


As Vice President, in 2016, Joe Biden launched the Cancer Moonshot with the mission to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer. The cancer and patient community and medical researchers responded with tremendous energy and ingenuity.

President Biden is reigniting the Cancer Moonshot with renewed White House leadership of this effort. Because of recent progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as the scientific advances and public health lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now possible to set ambitious goals: to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer— and, by doing this and more, end cancer as we know it today.

The President and First Lady Jill Biden also announced a call to action on cancer screening to jumpstart progress on screenings that were missed as a result of the pandemic, and help ensure that everyone in the United States equitably benefits from the tools we have to prevent, detect, and diagnose cancer.
 
Building on a Quarter Century of Bipartisan Support, Public Health Progress, and Scientific Advances
Over the first 20 years of this century, the age-adjusted death rate from cancer has fallen by about 25 percent, which means more people are surviving cancer and living longer after being diagnosed with cancer. That was enabled by progress on multiple fronts.

  • Science brought us treatments that target specific mutations in many types of cancer –for example, in certain types of lung cancer, leukemia, and skin cancers.
  • It has also provided therapies that use our immune system to detect and kill cancer cells and these immunotherapies are making a big difference in certain skin cancers, blood cancers, and others.
  • We also have cancer vaccines – like the HPV vaccine –which prevents the cause of up to seven kinds of cancer. 
  • We developed tools, like low-dose CT scans and refined use of colonoscopies, which help us detect lung cancer and colorectal cancers early when there are better treatment options.
  • Starting in the early 1990s, we also made progress against tobacco use through targeted public health education campaigns as well as new, more effective approaches to smoking cessation. We have seen a 50 percent decrease in adult long-term cigarette smoking and a 68 percent drop in smoking rates among youth.

Five years ago, with the bipartisan passage and enactment of the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress invested $1.8 billion, providing seven years of new funding for cancer research in many areas including studies on cancer disparities, new clinical trial networks to drive drug discovery, and innovative projects examining childhood cancer. The law streamlined cancer-related decision-making at the FDA through the formation of an Oncology Center of Excellence, so that effective treatments can be approved faster and patients can have more direct access to information about the regulatory process.

First Lady Jill Biden’s advocacy for cancer education and prevention began in 1993, when four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer. Following that year, she launched the Biden Breast Health Initiative to educate Delaware high school girls about the importance of cancer prevention.  As First Lady she continues her work emphasizing early detection efforts and the patient, family and caregiver experience with cancer.   She will also stress the importance of cancer screenings, especially those delayed or put off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will urge government partners, the business community, and non-profit sectors to help make screenings more accessible and available to all. 

At the White House, then-Vice President Biden brought together a task force and challenged the public and private sectors to join together in making progress. Companies, patient groups, universities, and foundations worked together to forge new partnerships and launch new programs.

The Biden-Harris Administration Has Maintained This Commitment
In the President’s first budget, he sustained strong funding for biomedical and health research with increased funding for the NIH and NCI, and full funding for the 21st Century Cures Act and the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative at the NCI.

President Biden proposed a bold new vision for biomedical and health research in the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). The goal of this entity is to improve the U.S. government’s capabilities to speed research that can improve human health — to improve our ability to prevent, detect, and treat a range of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and many others. ARPA-H funding has already been included in appropriation and authorization bills pending in Congress.

President Biden committed to a bilateral effort with the United Kingdom to take on the challenges of cancer together. This has already resulted in a November 2021 US-UK Cancer Scientific Meeting of leadership, patient advocates, and oncology research experts which produced recommendations for how the two nations can work in partnership to make even more urgent progress on cancer.

The Biden-Harris Administration has also prioritized strengthening health care for the American people by lowering health care costs and expanding coverage. The President’s health care agenda is the biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade, and includes cutting prescription drug costs by letting Medicare negotiate prices; strengthening the Affordable Care Act and reducing premiums for 9 million Americans; improving Medicare benefits by capping out-of-pocket costs on drugs, including cancer drugs, purchased at a pharmacy; and covering millions of uninsured Americans in states that have failed to expand Medicaid. 

New Goals for the Cancer Moonshot
Based on the progress made and the possibility before us, President Biden today set new national goals for the Cancer Moonshot:

  • Working together over the next 25 years, we will cut today’s age-adjusted death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent.
  • We will improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer.

Taken together, these actions will drive us toward ending cancer as we know it today.

There’s so much that can be done.

  • To diagnose cancer sooner — Today, we know cancer as a disease we often diagnose too late. We must increase access to existing ways to screen for cancer, and support patients through the process of diagnosis. We can also greatly expand the cancers we can screen for. Five years ago, detecting many cancers at once through blood tests was a dream. Now new technologies and rigorous clinical trials could put this within our reach. Detecting and diagnosing cancers earlier means there may be more effective treatment options. 
     
  • To prevent cancer — Today, we know cancer as a disease we have people and families too few good ways to prevent. But now, scientists are asking if mRNA technology, used in the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to teach your body to fight off the virus, could be used to stop cancer cells when they first appear. And we know we can address environmental exposures to cancer, including by cleaning up polluted sites and delivering clean water to American homes, for example, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
     
  • To address inequities — Today, we know cancer as a disease for which there are stark inequities in access to cancer screening, diagnostics and treatment across race, region, and resources. We can ensure that every community in America – rural, urban, Tribal, and everywhere else – has access to cutting-edge cancer diagnostics, therapeutics, and clinical trials.
     
  • To target the right treatments to the right patients — Today, we know cancer as a disease for which we understand too little about why treatments work for some patients, but not for others. We are learning more about how to use information about genetics, immune responses, and other factors to tell which combinations of treatments are likely to work best in an individual patient.
     
  • To speed progress against the most deadly and rare cancers, including childhood cancers — Today, we know cancer as a disease for which we lack good strategies for developing treatments against many of the more than 200 distinct types. We can invest in a robust pipeline for new treatments, and the COVID-19 pandemic response has demonstrated we can accelerate clinical trials without compromising safety and effectiveness. 
     
  • To support patients, caregivers, and survivors — Today, we know cancer as a disease in which we do not do enough to help people and families navigate cancer and its aftermath. We can help people overcome the medical, financial, and emotional burdens that cancer brings by providing support to navigate cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
     
  • To learn from all patients — Today, we know cancer as a disease in which we don’t learn from the experiences of most patients. We can turn our cancer care system into a learning system. When asked, most people with cancer are glad to make their data available for research to help future patients, if it can be done easily while respecting their privacy. Additionally, the diverse personal experiences of patients and their families make their input essential in developing approaches to end cancer as we know it.

Mobilizing the Entire Government
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the Cancer Moonshot will specifically:

  • Re-establish White House Leadership, with a White House Cancer Moonshot coordinator in the Executive Office of the President, to demonstrate the President and First Lady’s personal commitment to making progress and to leverage the whole-of-government approach and national response that the challenge of cancer demands.
     
  • Form a Cancer Cabinet, which will be convened by the White House, bringing together departments and agencies across government to address cancer on multiple fronts. These include the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Domestic Policy Council (DPC), Office of the First Lady (OFL), Office of the Vice President (OVP), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA), Office of Public Engagement (OPE), along with additional members, as needed, to help establish and make progress on Cancer Moonshot goals. 
     
  • Issue a Call to Action on Cancer Screening and Early Detection:
    • To deliver the message of urgency and increased access to get back on track after more than 9.5 million missed cancer screenings in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With regular recommended screenings, we can often catch cancer when there may be more effective treatment options or even prevent it from developing by removing pre-cancerous tissue.
    • To help ensure equitable access to screening and prevention through at-home screening (especially for colon cancer and HPV, the virus that causes cervical, head, neck and other cancers), mobile screening in communities without easy access to a clinic, through the community health networks we have built and strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and other ways to reduce barriers to cancer screening.
    • NCI will organize the collective efforts of the NCI cancer centers, and other networks such as the NCI Community Oncology Research Network (NCORP), to offer new access points to compensate for millions of delayed cancer screenings due to the pandemic, with a focus on reaching those individuals most at risk.
    • Federal agencies, led by the NCI, will develop a focused program to expeditiously study and evaluate multicancer detection tests, like we did for COVID-19 diagnostics, which could help detect cancers when there may be more effective treatment options.
    • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) commits to accelerating efforts to nearly eliminate cervical cancer through screening and HPV vaccination, with a particular focus on reaching people who are most at risk.
    • The President’s Cancer panel this week released a report “Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening laying out recommendations focused on connecting people, communities, and systems to increase equity and access.
       
  • Host a White House Cancer Moonshot Summit, bringing together agency leadership, patient organizations, biopharmaceutical companies, the research, public health, and healthcare communities and more to highlight innovation, progress, and new commitments toward ending cancer as we know it. 
     
  • Build on a White House Cancer Roundtable Conversation Series hosted over the last six months, with experts, including people living with cancer, caregivers, and survivors. These discussions focused on cancer prevention, early detection, clinical trial design and access, patient support and navigation, childhood cancer, learning from all patients and issues relating to equity in access and outcomes. Going forward, this will include discussions on additional topics and the knowledge gained will continue to inform this whole-of-government approach on cancer.
     
  • Require an All-Hands-On-Deck Approach. President Biden calls on the private sector, foundations, academic institutions, healthcare providers, and all Americans to take on the mission of reducing the deadly impact of cancer and improving patient experiences in the diagnosis, treatment, and survival of cancer. Progress will be informed by people living with cancer, caregivers, and families and contributed by all parts of the oncology community and beyond. We invite all Americans to share perspectives and ideas, and organizations, companies, and institutions to share actions they plan to take as part of this mission at whitehouse.gov/cancermoonshot.

Biden Administration Details Plans for Ongoing Pandemic Preparedness

A medical volunteer administers the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. The Biden Administration has developed plans and strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for inevitable future pandemics © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In a White House press call, September 3, 2021, Biden Administration officials laid out plans and strategy for pandemic preparedness to counter the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the nation and the world, and to prepare for inevitable future pandemics.

The administration is seeking$65.3 billion over 7 to 10 years to institute the full set of capabilities needed to transform our ability to be prepared for any family of virus.  

“President Biden is committed to combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Building Back Better for the next biological threat.  As part of this responsibility, the United States must lean forward and catalyze the advances in science, technology, and core capabilities required to protect the Nation against future and potentially catastrophic biological threats, whether naturally-occurring, accidental, or deliberate. “

Here are the remarks, and a fact sheet detailing the Biden Administration’s plan:

Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Dr. Eric Lander stated:

     The COVID-19 pandemic arrived at a time when science and technology capabilities were changing very rapidly.  Recent scientific advances made it possible to respond much more rapidly than ever before.  Had COVID-19 emerged five years ago, we would have had far fewer tools to do this.

     But, five years from now, we need to have much better capabilities.  We need to have better capabilities because, well, even with the knowledge and the tools that dramatically improved our ability to respond, COVID-19 has still been devastating for the nation and the world.

     As of today, COVID-19 has killed at least 642,000 Americans and many, many millions of people around the world, and many recovered patients are living with long-term effects of the disease.
 
It’s also caused economic damage to the United States that’s been estimated in the range of $16 trillion in lost economic output, direct spending, mortality, and morbidity.  And the societal impact has been borne disproportionately by frontline and vulnerable populations, especially people of color.

     We need better capabilities also because there is a reasonable likelihood that another serious pandemic that could be worse than COVID-19 will occur soon, possibly even within the next decade.  And the next pandemic will very likely be substantially different than COVID-19.  So, we must be prepared to deal with any type of viral threat.

     Now, because of ongoing progress in science and technology and innovation, we can have better capabilities for medicine, for situational awareness, for public health, and for lots more.  For the first time in the nation’s history, we have the opportunity, due to these kinds of advances in science and technology, not just to refill stockpiles, but transform our capabilities.  But we really need to start preparing now.

    We’ve got to seize the unique opportunity to transform our scientific capabilities so we’re prepared for the increasing frequency of biological threats on the horizon.  Investing to avert or mitigate the huge toll of future pandemics or other biological threats is both an economic and moral imperative.

     So, five years from now, we need to be in a far stronger position to stop infectious diseases before they become global pandemics like COVID-19.

     Now, there’s a lot we can do to transform our scientific capabilities for vaccine, therapeutic, diagnostic development; for early warning; for public health systems.
 
Importantly, these kinds of advances will not only strengthen our systems for dealing with future biological threats, they will be valuable for everyday public health and medical care for all Americans and for the world.  This will help everyday public health for everyone.

     Now, all these efforts, I’ve got to say, must, from the very outset, include a strong emphasis on reducing inequities and increasing access for all Americans to the resulting advances, because as we’ve seen from this pandemic, having the burden largely borne by vulnerable populations is unacceptable.

     The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental issues with America’s public heath that go far beyond pandemic preparedness.

     The issues include the need to increase overall public health funding, strengthen the public health workforce, eliminate barriers to access, improve data systems, address disparities, improve communications, and improve coordination across federal, state, local, and Tribal authorities. 

     The plan that’s being released today addresses needs directly related to pandemic preparedness, but I just want to emphasize there are broader public health issues that’ll need to be addressed separately and in a coordinated fashion.

     So, today, the White House is releasing a document entitled “American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming our Capabilities,” and the document describes goals under five pillars to protect the U.S. against biological threats.

     Pillar number one is: transforming our medical defenses, including improving vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

     Pillar number two: ensuring situational awareness about infectious disease threats, for both early warning and real-time monitoring.

     Pillar three: strengthening public health systems, both in the U.S. and internationally, to be able to respond to emergencies, with a particular focus on protecting the most vulnerable communities.

     Pillar four: building core capabilities, including personal protective equipment, stockpiles and supply chains, biosafety and biosecurity, and regulatory improvement.

     And pillar five: managing the mission, with the seriousness of purpose, commitment, and accountability of an Apollo Program.

     So, while the government — the U.S. government has made and must continue to make investments in basic science research, this plan includes the full set of capabilities needed to transform our ability to be prepared for any family of virus.  The cost is $65.3 billion over 7 to 10 years.  

     And it’s vital that we start with an initial outlay of $15- to $20 billion to jumpstart these efforts.  And, accordingly, we’re proposing that the current budget reconciliation provides at least $15 billion towards this goal.

     The administration will work through other appropriations to support the remainder of that $65.3 billion budget, above baseline, needed to execute the plan in full.

     And over the coming months, the White House will be developing the President’s budget, which will provide resources to ensure that the United States is prepared for the next pandemic.

     So, let me just say, these critical investments will build on and complement the broader U.S. government biomedical and health research portfolio. 

     We strongly believe that this mission is so important that it needs to be managed with the seriousness of purpose, commitment, and accountability of, well, President Kennedy’s Apollo Program, overseen by a dedicated program office.

     So we’re proposing there be a centralized “Mission Control” acting as a single, unified program management unit that draws on expertise from multiple agencies at HHS, including NIH, CDC, BARDA, FDA, and CMS, as well as other agencies and departments such as DOD, DOE, VA.  You know, for example, the Countermeasures Acceleration Group — formerly “Operation Warp Speed” — is led by a single joint program management unit.

     And Mission Control should have the responsibility and the authority to develop and update plans with objective and transparent milestones; regularly assess and publicly report on mission progress; shift funding to ensure that goals are achieved; coordinate linkages across performers in government — academia, philanthropy, and industry; and conduct periodic exercises to evaluate our actual national pandemic preparedness by deploying these capabilities, including through testing rapid product development.  And it should seek input of outside experts and have working groups that allow it to get the best possible advice.

     So, like any ambitious endeavor — whether it’s going to the Moon with the Apollo mission or cracking the human DNA with the Human Genome Project — an effort like this will take serious, sustained commitment and accountability.

     And like those kinds of efforts, it is likely to yield benefits far beyond the initial mission — in this case, advances in human health and providing tools that can help overcome health inequities and ensure equitable access to innovative products for all Americans. 

     So, we at the Office of Science and Technology have been working hard on the plan in very close partnership with the National Security Council, and particularly the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan. 

NSC Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense Dr. Beth Cameron on American Pandemic Preparedness stated:

The President has been committed from day one to pandemic readiness, including ending this pandemic which threatens the world and continues to create dangerous variants.  

     In parallel, he and the administration remain committed to advancing, repairing, and strengthening health security and pandemic preparedness for the future, including obviously here in the United States but also around the world.  

     And that’s why the President took swift action early to lay out a vision and plans for this work, including signing his first National Security Memorandum, which focused on the COVID-19 health and humanitarian response; advancing health security; and building better biological preparedness.  And this plan is really one central piece of that effort. 

     We’re also actively implementing many of the actions called for in NSM-1, including, obviously, releasing a COVID-19 response strategy, both domestically and globally.  We’ve established a new domestic Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics.  We’ve reengaged with the WHO on day one.  We’re working across the government to raise the global and domestic research and development ambition to decrease the timing between detection of the new biological threat and safe delivery of targeted countermeasures and therapeutics.  And you obviously heard a lot more about that from Dr. Lander. 
 
We’re reviewing the existing state of our biodefense enterprise — and I’ll come back to that in a second — and we continue to prioritize helping other countries in need to build their capacities to prevent, detect, and respond, and to advance our programs that support the global health security agenda and establish catalytic health security financing for the future.
 
The President signed, on his first day in office, Executive Order 13987, and that focused on the organization here in the United States for COVID-19, but also on emerging biological threats.  And it included reestablishing my office — the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense on the NSC staff.   

     And we’re really here to provide a high-level “belly button,” if you will, to elevate these important issues to the President and the NSC.  
 
Our team has a “no-fail” mission to rapidly mobilize the policy machinery to elevate high-consequence infectious disease outbreaks quickly across the White House and to the National Security Advisor, and really to empower agencies to adopt a no-regrets response.

     And we’re working very closely with OSTP and across the White House with all relevant departments and agencies as well to do a whole-of-government review and update of national bio-preparedness policies, which is directed by that executive order and by National Security Memorandum-1.  

     And so the document that we’re releasing today that Eric outlined in detail lays out a set of urgent needs and opportunities that are necessary to protect the United States against biological and pandemic threats.

     We believe that transforming our capabilities will require a systematic effort and a shared vision for biological preparedness that, as you heard from Eric, is really akin to an Apollo mission.  

     And that’s why we envision that this will be a core element of our strategy going forward on biodefense and pandemic readiness, informed by lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

     Importantly, though, we continue to take stock of our full range of biodefense, pandemic readiness, and global health security needs, including capabilities, policies, and practices that we need to update and refresh, building on our lessons from COVID-19 and other outbreaks.

     While this plan does lay out a clear vision for bio-preparedness, it doesn’t cover everything.  As Dr. Lander said, it’s really focused on our capabilities at home to prepare for pandemic. 

     COVID-19 has enumerated a number of challenges in our preparedness for a moderate pandemic, but we do need additional capabilities to be fully prepared for any biological event that comes our way, and that includes countering bioterrorism; countering the development and use of biological weapons; strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention; improving food security and food defense, zoonotic spillover events, and others.

     And we really focused this document on specific capabilities to stop a pandemic sooner, including a strong emphasis on science and technology, and early countermeasure development.  And we felt it was urgent to get started on this issue immediately.  
 
Simultaneously, we remain focused on reviewing and updating our other policies and practices, including across the broader healthcare system, workforce, and other areas.  And of course, we remain laser focused on the domestic and global COVID-19 response and our full programs of — a full suite of programs in support of those efforts.  These are vital, and the President has also placed a major priority on them, including in his FY22 Budget Request.

     So, just in closing, as we finalize our broader whole-of-government bio-preparedness effort, as directed by the President, this an important and crucial element, and we have to start now.

FACT SHEET:
Biden Administration to Transform Capabilities for Pandemic Preparedness

President Biden is committed to combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Building Back Better for the next biological threat.  As part of this responsibility, the United States must lean forward and catalyze the advances in science, technology, and core capabilities required to protect the Nation against future and potentially catastrophic biological threats, whether naturally-occurring, accidental, or deliberate.
 
We must seize the opportunity to ready ourselves for the biological threats on the horizon. Investing to avert or mitigate the huge toll of future pandemics and other biological threats is an economic and moral imperative. The cost of pandemic prevention pales in comparison to the enormous cost – in lives and in economic cost – of a pandemic. It’s hard to imagine a higher return on national investment.
 
On January 20, the President directed a whole-of-government review of U.S. national biopreparedness policies and re-established the National Security Council Directorate on Global Health Security and Biodefense. Today, we are releasing a plan for transforming U.S. capabilities to prepare for and respond rapidly and effectively to future pandemics and other high consequence biological threats. This plan is a core element of the larger strategy to bolster and resource pandemic readiness and biodefense.
 
This plan, laid out in American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming our Capabilities, lays out a set of urgent needs and opportunities in five key areas necessary to protect the United States against biological threats:

I. Transforming our Medical Defenses, including dramatically improving and expanding our arsenal of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

II. Ensuring Situational Awareness about infectious-disease threats, for both early warning and real-time monitoring.

III. Strengthening Public Health Systems, both in the U.S. and internationally to be able to respond to emergencies, with a particular focus on reducing inequities and protecting the most vulnerable communities.  

IV. Building Core Capabilities, including personal protective equipment, stockpiles and supply chains, biosafety and biosecurity, and regulatory improvement.  

V. Managing the Mission, with seriousness of purpose, commitment, and accountability akin to the Apollo mission, which brought our astronauts to the moon decades ago.  

This work will include, from the outset, a strong focus on ensuring equity and access by all Americans to the resulting advances.
 
Because transforming our capabilities will take time, it is imperative that we start now.
 
Achieving these capabilities will require a systematic effort and shared vision for biological preparedness across our government.  Like any ambitious endeavor – whether the Apollo mission or the Human Genome Project that cracked the code of human genetics – transforming our nation’s pandemic preparedness will take serious, sustained commitment and ambitious accountability. And like those efforts, it is likely to yield benefits beyond the original mission – in this case advances in human health and providing tools that could overcome health inequities and ensure equitable access to innovative products.
 
In addition to this plan’s efforts to strengthen public health in the context of pandemic preparedness, we also must address the broader need to strengthen the U.S. public health system and reinvigorate our public health workforce. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to efforts to support our public health workforce and to prevent the types of public health inequities revealed by COVID-19.
 
Over the next several weeks, we will be building on this vision as we finalize our whole-of-government biopreparedness review, continue to learn from COVID-19, and commit ourselves to a biodefense and pandemic readiness strategy that builds back better in the United States and around the world for this pandemic and the next.

2021 Special Enrollment Period Access Extended to August 15 on HealthCare.gov for Obamacare

President Biden announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace until August 15 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today, President Biden announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace until August 15 – giving consumers additional time to take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan. This action provides new and current enrollees an additional three months to enroll or re-evaluate their coverage needs with increased tax credits available to reduce premiums.

“Every American deserves access to quality, affordable health care – especially as we fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Through this Special Enrollment Period, the Biden Administration is giving the American people the chance they need to find an affordable health care plan that works for them. The American Rescue Plan will bring costs down for millions of Americans, and I encourage consumers to visit HealthCare.gov and sign up for a plan before August 15.”

As a result of the American Rescue Plan, additional savings will be available for consumers through HealthCare.gov starting April 1. These savings will decrease premiums for many, on average, by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month. On average, one out of four enrollees on HeathCare.gov will be able to upgrade to a higher plan category that offers better out of pocket costs at the same or lower premium compared to what they’re paying today. 

Consumers who want to access the SEP to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for financial help to reduce the cost of monthly premiums, can visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.  Consumers can also find a local assister or agent/broker in their area: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov

Consumers who are eligible and enroll under the SEP will be able to select a plan with coverage that could start as soon as the first month after plan selection. Current enrollees will be able to change to any plan available to them in their area. To take advantage of the SEP, current enrollees should review their application and make changes, if needed, to their current information and submit their application in order to receive an updated eligibility result.

Additionally, beginning in early July on HealthCare.gov, consumers who have received or have been determined eligible to receive unemployment compensation for any week during 2021 may be able to get another increase in savings when enrolling in new Marketplace coverage or updating their existing Marketplace application and enrollment. These savings to be made available starting in early July for eligible consumers are in addition to the increased savings available to consumers on HealthCare.gov starting April 1.

The SEP is currently available to consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform. Consumers served by State-based Marketplaces that use their own platform can check their state’s website to find out more information on Special Enrollment Periods in their state.

To see how the American Rescue Plan will bring down health care costs and expand on the Affordable Care Act, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/03/12/fact-sheet-american-rescue-plan-reduces-health-care-costs-expands-access-insurance-coverage.html.

Experts Predict Most Significant Wellness Trends for 2021

Between the coronavirus pandemic and the specter of future pandemics, climate-change borne insects and illness, coupled with the advances in medicine and medical technology and the demand for universal health care and equity, there is new focus and demand for prevention and wellness and more focus on self-care. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The coronavirus pandemic and the specter of future pandemics. Climate-change borne insects and illness. Advances in medicine and medical technology. The demand for universal health care and equity. With all of these developments are producing new focus and demand for prevention, wellness and self-care.

In other words, don’t get sick and place more stresses on an overwhelmed and unaffordable health care system.

Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 69 percent of all deaths globally each year are the result of preventable diseases and that the global cost of largely preventable chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and more) could reach $47 trillion by 2030 (World Economic Forum, 2017).

In light of this, the Global Wellness Institute has launched a fundraising challenge for The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease,  a global fight to eradicate preventable, chronic diseases. GWI is a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower wellness worldwide by educating the public and private sectors about preventative health and wellness.

At its recent Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the organization unveiled the top nine wellness trends for 2021, the new directions that will have the most meaningful impact on the $4.5 trillion global wellness industry:

Global Wellness Summit Trends Report: “The Future of Wellness 2021”

In this report, wellness industry analysts and experts identify the nine wellness trends that will have the most meaningful–not fleeting–impact in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Hollywood and the Entertainment Industries Jump into Wellness
  2. The Future of Immune Health: Stop Boosting, Start Balancing
  3. Spiritual and Numinous Moments in Architecture
  4. Just Breathe!
  5. The Self-Care Renaissance: Where Wellness and Healthcare Converge
  6. Adding Color to Wellness
  7. Resetting Events with Wellness: You may never sit on a banquet chair again
  8. Money Out Loud: Financial Wellness is Finding Its Voice
  9. 2021: The Year of the Travel Reset (The year when all travel may become wellness travel)

Forecasting trends in the fast-evolving wellness space is daunting every year. In 2020, we experienced a global pandemic, economic meltdown, racial injustice, polarizing politics, and a mental wellness crisis that changed every aspect of human life­­. The pandemic made wellness radically more important to people overnight, while the coronavirus exposed the terrible human cost for not controlling chronic, underlying conditions, radically strengthening the case for preventative wellness. At the same time, there was accelerated fatigue with a wellness industry overly focused on elitist, hyper-trendy, evidence-free wellness solutions—which suddenly feel “so 2019.”

Wellness today is at a watershed moment. The trends report reflects how wellness is poised to take a bigger seat at the healthcare table (see “The Self-Care Revolution” trend). It predicts a future industry that will be more inclusive, accessible and affordable (see the “Adding Color to Wellness,” “The Entertainment Industry Jumps into Wellness,” and “Just Breathe!” trends). How it will basically “get real” and more evidence-based (see “The Future of Immune Health: Stop Boosting, Start Balancing”)—and tackle tougher, more crucial human pain-points (see “Money Out Loud: Financial Wellness Is Finding Its Voice”). And the report also predicts how wellness will continue to rewrite vast industries, from travel, to architecture and design, to the meetings industry.

This wellness forecast is based on the insights of hundreds of top executives of wellness companies, economists, doctors, investors, academics and technologists­ (from dozens of nations) that gathered in person and virtually at the recent Summit to debate where wellness was headed—making for a particularly informed, global set of predictions.

1. Hollywood and the Entertainment Industries Jump into Wellness

By Beth McGroarty, VP, Research & Forecasting, Global Wellness Summit

Wellness will become a bigger, more meaningful programming focus on TV and in the music industry. Big Media is digesting the huge cultural force wellness has become.

For wellness purists, any trend about Goliath TV, music and tech companies moving into wellness programming can cause eye rolls; It must be…inauthentic. But for anyone serious about “wellness for all,” more wellness experiences at Big Media platforms are a story of unprecedented reach, access and affordability.

A New Wellness TV

If wellness programming on TV (whether Oprah or the Goop Lab) has been about wellness as a topic you passively consume, the future is TV content and platforms that involve and impact you.

Smart TVs are baking wellness “channels” onto their home screens. Samsung TVs launched Samsung Health, letting people binge 5,000 hours of free fitness/meditation classes from the buzziest brands. The future: smart TVs (like Apple’s) that connect to your health wearable (like Apple Fitness+) to serve up personalized wellness/fitness experiences right on your TV.Samsung’s 2021 TVs’ “Smart Trainer” does just that: offering real-time coaching as you work out.

Wellness companies are becoming full-blown TV studios. Mega-meditation-apps, Calm and Headspace, recently scored TV shows (HBO Max and Netflix), translating their meditative experiences into immersive television. Meditation apps with TV series? Unthinkable just two years ago.

China is perfecting the marriage of wellness TV programming and e-commerce, and Waterbear Network is a new “Netflix” for climate activism.

Wellness Music Exploding

The ways that music is being created forstress, sleep, focus, a better workout, or just trippy, ambient bliss…has kicked into high gear. It’s a paradigm shift: If music has always been consumed around artist, song and genre, now it’s “serve me music-as-therapy (with a specific emotional vibe), exactly when I need it.”

The big music sites (Spotify, Amazon, Apple) are really ramping up their music-for-wellbeing content, making “wellness” a new listening channel. Think: rock, jazz, hip-hop… “chill”… “sleep.”

Meditation apps are becoming big wellness musicrecord labels.” Calm’s music division keeps partnering with more big artists for adult lullabies or chill-out tracks. Headspace just named its first Chief Music Officer and came out swinging by hiring John Legend to create its original wellness music.

More apps are launching, specifically focused on music-for-wellbeing: the new Myndstream app and label produce music to help people chill out, sleep or focus; Muru Music Health, the first streaming platform aimed at people over 60, uses AI to deliver tailor-made music to prevent brain aging. The Soul Medicine app serves up music all composed around a 432 MHz frequency, which studies have shown works to synch sides of your brain and decrease heart rate.

Generative music technology—where your biometrics meet neuroscientist-designed sound—will take sound-as-precision-medicine to radical places, moving out of start-up labs and onto bigger media platforms. Endel pulls your heart rate, movement and circadian data to create a constantly changing “sound blanket” to help you de-stress, focus and sleep. They have big plans, including creating “smart house” tech that constantly adapts sound, light and temperature based on your physical/mental state.

Celebrities are now all over wellness, not just as spokespeople but as company founders, execs, and major investors. They are a rising, not-to-be-ignored force in the global wellness investment space.

Sure, many dream of creating the next money-minting GOOP empire, but it’s more than that: Wellness is becoming a powerful way for celebrities to positively rebrand during a health, racial inequity and environmental crisis. More celebs will keep investing in wellness brands that tackle serious social issues—from women’s sexual wellness to bringing wellness to Black and brown communities. Selena Gomez’s new brand Rare Beauty underwrites her Rare Impact Fund, pledging $100 million for mental health services in underserved communities.

The future: more collaborations between Big Media (who know a few things about high-quality, immersive content) and the wellness world (who has done a far better job than doctors in getting people obsessed with health).We need binge-able wellness programming—of all kinds. A trend that could impact billions of lives and feels awfully overdue.

2. The Future of Immune Health: Stop Boosting, Start Balancing

By Beth McGroarty, VP, Research & Forecasting, Global Wellness Summit

People were blitzed with “immune-boosting” supplements, foods and therapies in 2020. The future: more evidence-backed approaches to immune health, with metabolic health, the microbiome, and personalized nutrition becoming crucial—along with more experimentation with everything from “positive stress” experiences to intermittent fasting for immune resilience.

We join many forecasters in naming immune health a 2021 trend, not only because we agree that it will remain a consumer obsession post-vaccine but because the main ways the wellness industry has been addressing it are…flat-out wrong.

First, the idea that you can “boost” your immunity is unscientific nonsense, and “more boosting” is precisely the wrong approach: A supercharged immune system leads to the body attacking itself, the pathway to autoimmune diseases, and the cytokine storm that killed COVID-19 patients.

Second, the wellness market has led with pop-it, guzzle-it, IV-drip-it, “immune-boosting” superfoods and supplements, none of which can change the complex immune system much. So many sexy products like elderberry-adaptogen gummies in prescription-like bottles. How did wellness become such a Big-Pharma-simulating world?

The future: approaches that lead to immuno-stabilization, immuno-balance. Most are the untrendy pillars of wellness: exercise, sleep and stress-reduction.

But with new research and lessons from COVID-19, some things become far more important:

Metabolic health: COVID-19 brutally exposed the connection between metabolic ill-health and immune dysfunction, as people with metabolic issues (far more widespread than obesity and diabetes) were more likely to get sick and die. The #1 thing to strengthen our immunity: refocus on diets that drive metabolic health (and stop the profusion of trendy ones that don’t). This means embracing some version of the Mediterranean Diet.

The microbiome: An incredible 70% of our immune system is headquartered in our “gut.” And new research from PREDICT (the world’s largest research project on how individuals respond to food) on the gut-immune health connection is profound, finding diet is the # 1 determinant of our microbiome (trumping genetics). Other new studies have found that the gut microorganisms of COVID-19 patients look radically different than those of uninfected people.

More people will embrace the generic gut-health weapons: fiber-rich, whole, unprocessed foods; prebiotics; fermented probiotics; and now even postbiotics are coming. New research shows that the same foods impact individuals’ microbiomes (and metabolic health) very differently, so labs are working overtime to crack the insanely complex, 100-trillion-cell microbiome to create better testing models for personalized nutrition. Two scientist-founded microbiome testing companies to watch: Israel’s Day Two and Zoe Global, founded by the doctors behind PREDICT.

Personalized nutrition: All of this means far greater urgency for personalized nutrition in general. The gold standard: advanced, integrated genetic, bloodmarker, and microbiome testing (and UCSF is working on). So many companies are putting together the pieces in the meantime, such as MYX Health, using one-prick bloodspot tech to test everything from average blood sugar levels to inflammation markers for tailored nutrition plans.

We’ll see more experimentation with:

Intermittent fasting: Research mounts that intermittent fasting can dramatically “flip the switch” on immune system regeneration. Studies also indicate that daily fasting windows and special “fast-mimicking” diets show significant, positive immune impact, but multi-day, water-only fasts hurt immune response.

“Positive stress” experiences: Human immune systems evolved around constant, short stresses (how we survived), but now we sit at desks with temperatures always tuned to 72 degrees. Voluntary “positive stress” experiences—hot and cold; fasting; types of breathwork; high-intensity, short bursts of exercise—are proven to have a short-term, positive immune effect. All will rise in wellness, from the Wim Hof Method to wild swimming to home infrared saunas. The first human clinical trial testing on whether regular positive stress experiences have a long-term impact on our cellular biology and the immune system is coming soon.

“Immunity travel”: Wellness resorts rushed to immunity programs when the pandemic hit: so many add-on, “immune-boosting” menus and IV drips. Now destinations will go deeper, more medical, and revolve around interventions that matter more: from in-depth metabolic and immune profile testing to gut health and personalized nutrition—such as Germany’s Buchinger Wilhelmi. Biohacking centers, such as BelleCell in London, are deploying futuristic tech, such as IV laser therapy and hyperbaric oxygen chambers, to target “cellular bioresilience” and the immune system.

After a long 2020, people are aware that their immune health is a holistic affair, that food and the microbiome are lynchpins, and that “slow” not “hyper” strategies are the difference-makers. People will keep gobbling trendy quick-fixes in trendy bottles, but they’re ready for more. A wellness industry newly focused on the hard—and fast-evolving—immune science could extend and save many lives. And help its own reputation along the way.

3. Spiritual and Numinous Moments in Architecture
By Veronica Schreibeis Smith, Founding Principal, Vera Iconica Architecture and Developments

In recent years, a storm of studies has demonstrated the powerful connection between the built environment and our physical health, and a new “wellness architecture” has taken off, heavily focused on functional design moves, whether circadian lighting or air purification.

What has been glossed over is design that can tap into and nurture our spirituality. In 2021, we will see new attention paid to creating everyday spaces that can incite sacred and numinous moments, that elevate our consciousness and potential, and ground us in gravitas in the midst of a mindless, consumerist society. Architecture and design will move up Maslow’s Pyramid, from our recent era of look-at-me, visually ostentatious fads (luxury McMansions that reside in the “Esteem” tier) to a new architecture reaching for the “Self-Actualization” tier—a built environment that can move our souls.

Thin places: We will see more experimentation with creating special “thin places” that dissolve the veil between ordinary, everyday places and the sacred realm. Architect Dr. Phillip Tabb has identified 16 shared traits, including transitioning into the space with a threshold, much light and luminosity, and the beneficial manifestations of nature. Thin places move us from the secular, overwhelming pace of our daily lives to a sacred, more empowered state, and neuroscience has shown that this non-ordinary architecture has the same impact on our brains as meditation.

Ancient revivals: Feng shui principles are well-known, but we will see interest in other ancient traditions such as Vastu architecture, which also uses techniques like orientation, proportions, astrology, placement of rooms/furnishings, and blessing ceremonies to improve human energy. There will be more interest in sacred geometry and BioGeometry to create spiritual spaces rooted in the math of nature. And we will see a revival of the temple in both faith-based and everyday architecture.

“Nudge architecture”: Nudge architecture is the concept ofdesigning cues into the environment that influence behavior while still allowing people to make their own choices. For example, placing meditation coves in workplace courtyards (baking spirituality into everyday life) or placing a beautiful stairway in building entries and tucking elevators into back corridors (baking movement into life). 

A Spiritual Home: We will rethink layouts in our homes that we take for granted, such as designing the “bath room” as an elevated space for bathing rituals rather than basic hygiene (i.e., the toilet must move).  Wellness kitchens[1] will be designed so that preparing whole foods becomes a joyful, relaxing ritual—and bedrooms will become sleep sanctuaries, thoughtfully arranged to reflect the sacredness of winding down in preparation for dreamtime.

The new spiritual architecture means we will no longer accept secular environments that disregard a need to uplift us emotionally, maximize our cognitive performance, bring us to the present moment, and allow us space to breathe and be mindful. Spiritual wellbeing is an inextricable part of a well life and rightfully deserves more design consideration and designated spaces in our homes, workplaces, communities and urban landscapes.

Just breathe. Taking a meditative break on a hike in Death Valley National Park (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

4. Just Breathe! 

By Sandra Ballentine, Editor at Large, W Magazine

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to know where your chakras are or what a didgeridoo sounds like to do breathwork. An increasing number of clinical studies from major universities like Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins are putting science and data behind something we’ve actually known for centuries—the way we breathe has profound effects on our mental and physical health and abilities. It might even help us strengthen our immune systems. Many of us have heard of top performers (think leading athletes, elite military personnel and major rock stars) using their breath to aid focus and reduce fear at critical moments, but the beauty of breath is that anyone can access its power, even children.

This trend explores the people, the techniques, the places, and the new technologies pushing the practical magic of breathwork into exciting—and important—new directions.

Practitioners are bringing breathwork to ever-larger audiences and pushing it into fascinating new territories, including rehabilitation, fitness and community building and relief from chronic stress, trauma and PTSD. Breath artist, Sage Rader, brings modern breathwork to the masses with a rock-star delivery, alchemizing science and spirituality into entertainment, while Jasmine Marie’s Black Girls Breathing delivers meditational breathwork as mental healthcare for Black women. This trend looks at techniques, whether nose breathing, the lengthened exhale, or the “sigh,” as specific brain and body medicine.

Cool, clubby breathwork parties and festivals are rising, such as Donovan McGrath’s (creator of Amplified Yoga, one of L.A.’s hottest live music-driven fitness classes) plans to introduce Amplified Ecstatic Breath, a breathwork social hour (complete with mood-shifting lights and a live DJ) as soon as people can meet again. Hospitality is taking a much bigger breath, with more—and more diverse—breathwork programming everywhere from Six Senses’ global resorts to Chablé Yucatan and Chablé Maroma in Mexico.

If breathwork apps have been around, gaining traction now are handheld devices that track air quality and fitness/health wearables that incorporate breathing-related metrics like breathing rate, pulse oximetry, heart-rate variability and habitual breathing patterns. There’s so much action in breath-tech, such as Israel-based start-up Anicca set to launch its Companion device, which regulates the wearer’s emotions by amplifying the sensation of their breathing as a calming vibration on their body.

Certain breathing techniques can help strengthen the lungs post-COVID-19, and there are even studies that point to breathwork as a possible therapeutic for one of the world’s deadliest diseases: hypertension. Perhaps the best part of all—this drug-free medicine costs absolutely nothing. And with so many accessible techniques and styles to choose from, there really is something for everyone and every situation. 

5. The Self-Care Renaissance: Where Wellness and Healthcare Converge

By Cecelia Girr & Skyler Hubler of Backslash, TBWA Worldwide

From 1400–1700, the Medical Renaissance marked a historic breakthrough in our approach to healthcare. Science began to dominate superstition. Anatomical discoveries paved the way for modern medicine. And yes, vaccines were in development.

Over three hundred years later, we’re undergoing a new kind of medical renaissance. One where two complementary yet often competing entities—healthcare and wellness—will converge. Wellness is learning to lean into science, establish standards, and hold itself accountable. At the same time, healthcare is beginning to borrow from the wellness playbook—transforming a once sterile and strictly curative industry into a more holistic, lifestyle-oriented, and even pleasurable one. In this new era, hospitals will take inspiration from five-star resorts, yoga studios might measure improved telomere length, and prescriptions may be coupled with hyper-personalized guides to optimal health.

Promising signs of governments, doctors and medicine giving wellness wings for widespread adoption are already emerging. Over in Singapore, for example, the government is teaming up with the world’s biggest tech giant to create a healthier society. Through the LumiHealth app and Apple Watch, Singaporeans can participate in country-wide wellness challenges and access personalized health programs until 2022. 

On the other end of the spectrum, we’re seeing healthcare take cues from the more pleasurable parts of wellness. Even the most dreaded semi-annual appointment—the dentist—is being rebranded as a self-care experience. Think seasonal toothpaste flavors, massage chairs in the lobby, and yes—your favorite Netflix show streaming on the ceiling.

As we look to a future where healthcare and wellness converge, there’s no better visual representation than Octave’s Sangha Retreat in Suzhou, China. On the property, there’s a corridor that runs from one side to the other. One end is home to conventional medicine, and the other hosts wellness practices ranging from acupuncture to more “out-there” devices that measure the age of your soul. Visitors are free to flow between the two sides based on their needs. 

The corridor at the Sangha Retreat presents what we believe is next for healthcare and wellness. A kind of yin yang approach where two seemingly opposing forces finally discover that they can—and must—work together. As Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier puts it, “Medicine is realizing that its roots have come from wellness traditions, and the wellness community is recognizing that not all doctors are evil.”

6. Adding Color to Wellness

A personal and professional reflection, as a Black woman living in the US, who researches the wellness industry

By Tonia Callender, Research Fellow, Global Wellness Institute

Graphic videos and the protests of last summer prompted many businesses to voice support for anti-racism. While diversity and inclusion have become a popular topic in the wellness industry, mainstream wellness companies ignore Black wellness consumers and rarely market to them.

Moreover, the industry disregards the value that talented Black wellness professionals can bring to wellness spaces, limiting them to entry-level or maintenance positions. This essay argues that to generate substantive change, the wellness industry must recognize and address the false narrative that wellness is for affluent white people. It discusses how the industry can add color to wellness by valuing Black consumers and wellness professionals and describes the different ways that Black people actually experience wellness offerings and spaces, highlighting racial inequalities.

Unequal wealth and the continued effects of residential segregation, racial bias and discrimination hinder Black wellness. Lack of access to good education, clean air, healthy food, potable water, and good health care hamper this ethnic group’s ability to protect and nurture its wellness. When compared to their fellow white citizens, Black Americans are more stressed and less healthy but have fewer choices. Racial bias and structural barriers continue to force unequal wellness options on Black people. Most importantly, for many people of color, even the least costly wellness practices can be difficult to pursue. This essay discusses some of the obstacles facing Black people who pursue wellness activities while providing a personal perspective on Black wellness experiences. Whether appreciating nature or engaging in physical activity, Black people face a different wellness landscape. For example, when it comes to mental wellbeing, they have more stress and fewer options. 

This piece also provides insights into the future, illustrating how companies are changing the wellness narrative and giving suggestions for how the wellness industry can add color to wellness. The industry can support Black wellness by allowing non-white groups to also shape the wellness narrative, incorporating Black wellness needs into services, spaces and products and valuing black wellness professionals. Companies such as Fenty Beauty in the beauty sector and the Shine app in the mental wellness space have found substantial success by incorporating Black wellness into their products and services, and both companies represent the vision of people of color who reject the current mainstream wellness narrative. They have not focused solely on Black wellness but have incorporated the needs of Black people into their wellness offerings. 

Global consumer markets are becoming more diverse, and Black and brown consumers are witnessing increased purchasing power. Companies that value wellness for all racial groups and income levels will thrive as they expand their consumer markets and increase business innovation and profitability. Wellness enterprises that value diversity, respect Black wellness needs, and work to support more equitable access, represent the future of wellness.   

7. Resetting Events with Wellness: You may never sit on a banquet chair again

By NancyDavis, Chief Creative Officer and Executive Director, GWI & GWS

In mid-March 2020, the pandemic brought in-person events to an abrupt halt. And no matter the power of technology and the gratitude we felt for Zoomed Wi-Fi connectivity, the world hungered for personal interactions.

But there was a silver lining: a new trend that will forever change meetings and events was born, with wellness at the core. The trend reinforces top-of-mind topics like health, safety and immunity and employs new protocols and technologies that mitigate risk in engaging ways. In 2021 and beyond, creativity is driving connection—and how we gather is taking on new—and healthier—meanings.

As the months passed, conflicting issues continued to converge in the world of meetings and events: a pent-up desire to travel, the still-spreading coronavirus, the uptick in virtual technologies, coupled with the unending human desire and need for connection.

The answer? New hybrid events (in-person and virtual gatherings) sprouted like mushrooms after a spring rain. Technology companies raced to be the platform for hosting hybrid meetings. Investors threw money at tech companies, and within months of the pandemic shutting down most in-person gatherings, new companies had taken hold, and a new world was emerging.

Moreover, the pandemic also generated the opportunity to reimagine not only how an event would take place but also how it could be healthier. The spark that ultimately combusted for the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) was an idea to “reset events with wellness” in an authentic and powerful way—ultimately creating a new trend for 2021.

The 14th annual Summit was to take place in November in Tel Aviv. However, when COVID-19 hit, the GWS quickly pivoted to a “Safe Summit.”  The now smaller event moved from Tel Aviv to The Breakers Palm Beach, and a virtual aspect was added, allowing more people to attend. A former US Surgeon General because the conference Medical Advisor, banquet seating became wellness stations, mandatory COVID-19 testing and temperature checks replaced handshakes and hugs, and buffet breaks were transformed to healthy snacks presented for carrying away. Mood lighting was turned into far-UVC and air purification, reducing viral load, and fun was reimaged with a “Mask-erade” with Distanced Disco Dancing.

Over 100 delegates attended the 2020 Global Wellness Summit in person at The Breakers, and over 500 attendees logged in virtually. It set a new standard for meetings and provided a road map for the future of healthy events.

8. Money Out Loud: Financial Wellness is Finding Its Voice

By Cecelia Girr & Skyler Hubler of Backslash, TBWA Worldwide

Money has topped the “do-not-discuss” list for decades—right alongside religion, sex and politics. But it’s 2021, and transparency is trending. A culture craving authenticity is breaking the money taboo—transforming finance from a hush-hush, one-size-fits-all, cut-and-dry industry to one that’s more human, empathetic, and, dare we say, fun. 

This growing openness is being driven by a much larger mental health awakening. We’re moving on from the vanities of look-good, feel-good wellness and lifting the lid off the heavier pressures that are contributing to an unhealthy society. And with research linking financial stress to anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions, and more—it’s about time money is put under the microscope.

This growing financial wellness movement is moving money talk far beyond the bank. Financial therapists are tackling the intersection between money and mental health. Financial literacy courses are simplifying complicated finance bro jargon. And the three billion views of #personalfinance content on TikTok are proving that finance influencers are officially a thing. And the discussion is just getting started.

As the money conversation heats up, it’s being brought to the fore by those who have typically been excluded from dialogue altogether. We all engage with money daily, yet our experience with it vastly differs based on factors like race, socioeconomic status, age, personal values, and even sexual orientation. And though the majority of 2020 headlines felt hopeless, the year did bring promising signs of greater financial inclusivity. Jefa, a digital bank designed specifically for women in Latin America, and Majority, a banking service that sets immigrants up with the tools needed for financial success, are just two of the several hyper-personal neobanks that are emerging.

All positive progress starts with a conversation. In this case, the conversation is about money—how it makes us feel, how and why our experiences with it differ, and what ultimately needs to change. As the conversation becomes increasingly loud, inclusive and honest, the old voices will be shouted out by the new. We’ll begin to see the end of financial systems designed to profit from our failure and the start of financial wellness awakening. Money talks. It’s time we start using a language everyone can understand.

In 2021, all travel may have a measure of wellness travel. Seeking out restorative effects of being in nature, active travel,, travel sustainability with minimal impact like biking, hiking will continue to be popular (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

9. 2021: The Year of the Travel Reset

The year when all travel may become wellness travel
By Elaine Glusac, columnist, New York Times

The coronavirus pandemic acted as a near-complete brake on travel in 2020. The pause gave everyone—consumers and suppliers—the opportunity to think about rebooting travel for the better by correcting overtourism, becoming more conscious of where the money goes, and how to use the enormous power of tourism to sustain cultures and environments and perhaps even leave them better off.

Looking ahead, the year 2021 may be the year that all travel becomes wellness travel. As home and work lives merged during the pandemic, work grew for many, prompting employers to emphasize self-care, beginning with vacations. Additionally, health assessments—including pre-arrival COVID-19 tests—are becoming vital precursors to travel. And vaccine passports are in development.

From the manic travel of 2019—which was the ninth year of record-setting growth in travel, outpacing global economic expansion—2021 will be the year of the travel reset, going slower, nearer and more mindfully. Fitfully too, mirroring the vaccination rollout, which has prompted optimism as well as tentativeness.

Some ways travel will be reset in 2021:

Making travel regenerative: or leaving a place better off than you found it. An example includes the Svart lodge in Norway, which plans to be energy positive, producing more solar power than it needs.

Challenging overtourism: finding ways to ensure that when travel rebounds, it doesn’t threaten to overrun attractions and communities.

Correcting undertourism: being mindful of the positive force travel can be by sustaining communities and ecosystems in encouraging conservation and local investment.

Tentative travel: taking cautious steps in travel to local and regional destinations before national and international ones as confidence in the health and safety of travel grows.

Embracing nature: discovering the healing power of nature, a movement unleashed during the pandemic, will continue as travelers continue to value isolation, slow travel and human-powered travel.

Putting purpose first: making travel more meaningful or purposeful, from planning family reunions to pursuing personal challenges like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Eventually, the widespread distribution of vaccines is expected to unleash a flood of travel, though the date the dam breaks is hard to foresee. For now, 2021 will be a year of resetting travel as a closer, slower, more careful, healthier pursuit as we emerge post-vaccine.

The full 97-page Global Wellness Summit Trends Report can be purchased  here.

The Global Wellness Summit is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.5 trillion global wellness economy. Held in a different location each year, Summits have taken place in the US, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy and Singapore. The 14th annual Summit took place at The Breakers Palm Beach, FL, from November 8–11, 2020. The 2021 GWS will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel, in November 2021. 

See also:
Pandemic Underscores Urgency for True Universal Healthcare with Added Emphasis on Wellness


Former Google CEO to Help Cuomo Build New York Back Better From COVID-19

Eric Schmidt, former CEO and Executive Chairman of Google, founder Schmidt Futures, joined coronavirus briefing online at Northwell Health, Manhasset, Long Island, with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling  and Dr. Jim Malatras of Empire State College. Schmidt has agreed to chair a 15-member blue-ribbon commission to figure how to use technologies in a reimagined economy of the future, resilient to the next pandemic or crisis. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com

The vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in New York State, still with the greatest number of cases in the world, are now coming from people at home, not from work, not from among essential workers, and not people taking public transportation. The majority are over 51 years old, retired, minorities and from downstate.

The finding comes from hospitalization data gathered in a new targeted effort to further reduce the number of new hospitalizations per day by trying to figure out the source of the new cases. The state received 1,269 survey responses from 113 hospitals over three days.

Governor Cuomo noted that the findings underscore the importance of social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing face masks when out in public to cut down transmission. The lockdown and mitigation protocols have helped the state avoid the worst projections: over 100,000 hospitalizations when the state only had capacity for 50,000.

At the same time, Cuomo is preparing the state to reopen, and looking beyond, to make the state’s public health and economy resilient should this pandemic or some other crisis strike again.

“As we begin re-opening parts of the state and re-imagining New York in the new normal, we should take this moment in history to use what we’ve learned and actually build our systems back better,”Governor Cuomo said.”I don’t want to replace what we did – I want to set the bar higher and actually improve our situation so we are prepared for the future. We’re working with some of the nation’s great business leaders to ensure we are thinking outside the box and improving and modernizing our systems for the future.”

“As we begin re-opening parts of the state and re-imagining New York in the new normal, we should take this moment in history to use what we’ve learned and actually build our systems back better,”Governor Cuomo said (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Cuomo today announced that Schmidt Futures will help integrate New York State practices and systems with the best advanced technology tools to build back better. Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO and Executive Chairman and founder of Schmidt Futures, will lead the state’s 15-member Blue Ribbon Commission and use what the state has learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with new technologies, to improve telehealth and broadband access.

Among the areas that Cuomo is targeting for greater resiliency in the economy and society against the next pandemic or crisis are public health, public transportation, and public education, using the lessons learned from the current crisis, in which many things have had to be innovated and implemented that had never before been done.

He noted “Hospitals must be organized to operate as one system in a public health emergency.” During the current crisis, the only way to accommodate the influx of patients needing hospitalization – at one point predicted at over 100,000 beds when the entire state only has 50,000 – was to “flex/surge” equipment, personnel and capacity among public/private/nonprofit hospitals, staffs, equipment, downstate and upstate.

“Reimagining” a better healthcare system will require analysis of how to ensure telemedicine is available to all; how to better allocate healthcare resources statewide; how to harden the healthcare system against future challenges; and how to better protect and support healthcare workers.

“This crisis presents a unique opportunity for us to learn and better ourselves: better transportation, social equity; better public safety; better housing; better economy; better education,” Cuomo said.

The day before, Cuomo announced that New York State is collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a blueprint to reimagine education in the new normal. As New York begins to develop plans to reopen K-12 schools and colleges, the state and the Gates Foundation will consider what education should look like in the future, including:

How can we use technology to provide more opportunities to students no matter where they are;

How can we provide shared education among schools and colleges using technology;

How can technology reduce educational inequality, including English as a new language students;

How can we use technology to meet educational needs of students with disabilities;

How can we provide educators more tools to use technology;

How can technology break down barriers to K-12 and Colleges and Universities to provide greater access to high quality education no matter where the student lives; and

Given ongoing socially distancing rules, how can we deploy classroom technology, like immersive cloud virtual classrooms learning, to recreate larger class or lecture hall environments in different locations?

The state will bring together a group of leaders to answer these questions in collaboration with the Gates Foundation, who will support New York State by helping bring together national and international experts, as well as provide expert advice as needed.

The Governor also announced that, on this, National Nurses Day, JetBlue is donating 100,000 pairs of round-trip flights for medical personnel and nurses to honor their efforts, beginning with 10,000 pairs of tickets for New York medical professionals. Additionally, three painted JetBlue planes honoring New York’s frontline workers will do a flyover above New York City on Thursday, May 7th, at 7:00 p.m.

Governor Cuomo also announced a new contest asking New Yorkers to create and share a video explaining why people should wear a mask in public. The winning video will be used as a Public Service Announcement. Videos should be less than 30 seconds long, should show a mask properly worn over the mouth and nose and must be submitted by May 30th. Interested New Yorkers can learn more at WearAMask.ny.gov.

“The last few months have been an incredibly stressful time full of change, but we have to learn and grow from this situation and make sure we build our systems back better than they were before,” Governor Cuomo said. “One of the areas we can really learn from is education because the old model of our education system where everyone sits in a classroom is not going to work in the new normal. When we do reopen our schools let’s reimagine them for the future, and to do that we are collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and exploring smart, innovative education alternatives using all the new technology we have at our disposal.”

NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Meanwhile, the state’s health experts, including Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, said there were still many questions to be answered about this novel coronavirus. The CDC has only recently determined that the virus that came to New York, New Jersey and Illinois came through Europe, not China, and is somewhat different and also appears to be more infections. Dr. Zucker was unable to say whether having antibodies, as determined with new testing, which means the person had been infected, is also immune from the other coronavirus or even immune from new infections, and if immune, for how long.

The Governor detailed the preliminary results of new hospitalization data, in a new targeted effort to further reduce the number of new hospitalizations per day by trying to figure out the source of the new cases. The state received 1,269 survey responses from 113 hospitals over three days and found that the majority of individuals were:

Not working or traveling;

Predominately located downstate;

Predominately minorities and older individuals;

Predominately non-essential employees; and

Predominately at home. 

Finally, the Governor confirmed 2,786 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 323,978 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 323,978 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

CountyTotal PositiveNew Positive
Albany1,32127
Allegany350
Broome3457
Cattaraugus541
Cayuga510
Chautauqua381
Chemung1282
Chenango1022
Clinton690
Columbia29162
Cortland280
Delaware620
Dutchess3,19241
Erie4,008117
Essex300
Franklin160
Fulton1003
Genesee1623
Greene18822
Hamilton52
Herkimer681
Jefferson630
Lewis90
Livingston893
Madison2318
Monroe1,65532
Montgomery632
Nassau37,350198
Niagara54941
NYC178,3511,477
Oneida5795
Onondaga1,05654
Ontario992
Orange9,21571
Orleans1034
Oswego702
Otsego670
Putnam1,0409
Rensselaer3478
Rockland12,20460
Saratoga3713
Schenectady55114
Schoharie450
Schuyler70
Seneca460
St. Lawrence1802
Steuben2232
Suffolk35,543268
Sullivan99612
Tioga964
Tompkins1290
Ulster1,38326
Warren1931
Washington1891
Wayne780
Westchester30,426186
Wyoming700
Yates190

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© 2020 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, NYS Ramps Up Antibody Testing Critical to Reopening Economy, Calls Upon Federal Support, Partners with NJ, CT; Seeks Heroes Compensation Fund

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo points to success in flattening the curve of coronavirus infection in the state which already has more cases than any other country, but warns against complacency, saying it is the stay-at-home policies that have worked (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Governor Offers Full Partnership with Federal Government as Part of State’s Continued Efforts to Bring Mass Testing to Scale; New York Will Partner with Connecticut and New Jersey to Create a Regional Testing Partnership

Announces $200 Million in Emergency Food Assistance for More Than 700,000 Low-Income Households Enrolled in SNAP

Governor is Working with Congressional Delegation to Create a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund

Announces New Partnerships with Private Sector to Provide Free Housing for Frontline Medical Workers

Releases ‘New York Tough’ Video Showing How New Yorkers are Spending Their Time at Home, Building on Ongoing State Efforts to Reach All Communities in New York with the Life-Saving Stay Home Message – Video is Available Here

Confirms 10,575 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 170,512; New Cases in 54 Counties

The reason that the national coronavirus numbers are plateauing is because New York State, with more coronavirus cases than any other country, has brought down the rates of new infections, even as the daily death toll remains high. But it is not clear whether COVID-19 has yet to strike places where the numbers seem relatively low, because there is not sufficient testing. Trump is pushing to reopen the economy – desperate to be able to go into the election with a strong economy, low unemployment rates, high Dow – without care that lifting stay-at-home mitigation will trigger new spikes in infections and new waves, as are already being experienced in some Asian countries.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has received high marks for his command-and-control that clearly has resulted in significantly lower rates of infection than a slew of statisticians predicted could happen if steps to contain the virus were not implemented, said as much. Looking ahead to how and when the state could get back to work, he warned against doing it too early or too suddenly. Testing – both to diagnose and to determine if someone has the antibodies to effectively be immune to the coronavirus – is critical and he called for the federal government to exercise the Defense Production Act to get private labs and manufacturers to bring tests up to scale, that is, by the tens of millions.—Karen Rubin, news-photos-features.com.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York State is ramping up antibody testing, a key component of any plan to reopen the economy. The state is currently conducting 300 of these antibody tests, and is on track to conduct 1,000 per day by next Friday and 2,000 per day by the following week. As part of the state’s continued efforts to bring mass testing to scale, the Governor offered a full partnership with the federal government to conduct this important work. In the interim, the Governor announced that New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will create a regional testing partnership to bring mass testing to scale for residents in these states.

Governor Cuomo also announced an additional $200 million in emergency food assistance will be available for more than 700,000 low-income households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those enrolled in SNAP and not yet receiving the maximum benefit will receive an additional payment to bring them up to this amount in March and April. The supplemental benefits will be issued in April and delivered directly to recipients’ existing Electronic Benefit Transfer accounts. Households eligible for the supplement that live in counties outside of New York City will begin receiving the supplemental emergency benefit starting on April 13, and all eligible households will have received it by April 24. In New York City, the emergency benefits will be issued starting on April 14, and the issuance completed on April 25.

Governor Cuomo is also working with New York’s Congressional delegation to create a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund to support health care and other frontline workers and their families who contracted COVID-19.

The Governor also announced new partnerships with the private sector to provide housing for frontline medical workers. Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky will contribute $2 million to help provide rooms in union hotels at no cost to frontline workers. As part of this effort, 1199SEIU is partnering with Airbnb to offer housing to its members — comprised of hospital and other healthcare workers — as they fight the COVID-19 crisis statewide. Additionally, the InterContinental Times Square, Yotel and the Hudson Hotel are providing an additional 800 free rooms for health care workers coming to New York City from out of state, collaborating with the Hotel Association of New York City, MetLife and the Related Companies.

As part of Governor Cuomo’s social media awareness campaign, the state today released a video that features New Yorkers showing us their reality as they stay home under the state-wide Pause restrictions. Working in partnership with Resonant Pictures, the state put out a call for photographs of life in the city over the past three weeks. The video, set to the iconic song by The Fray, truly illustrates “How to Save a Life,” during the pandemic.

“The data has shown that what we do today will determine the infection rate two or three days from now, so we must continue to do what we are doing even though it is difficult –because it is working,” Governor Cuomo said. “The key to reopening is going to be testing. New York State has been very aggressive on testing, and our state lab is now developing an antibody test which is fast and non-invasive. The State Department of Health can currently do 300 tests a day and by next Friday, they will be able to do 1,000 tests and 2,000 tests the following week. That’s great, sounds like a lot, but 2,000 tests are still a drop in the bucket, and I’m proud of how New York has advanced on testing.”

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo on needing a stimulus bill that actually addresses the needs of state and local governments: “ou need a fair federal stimulus bill that is not a political pork barrel bill. You know where the cases are. You know where the need is. I understand the political dynamics of the U.S. Senate but this is not a time to be passing bills that really are to make sure your home state gets enough funding. That’s not what this is about. This is about helping the country coming back and focusing on the need. When I says the bills were unfair to New York, the past bills, it is not just that I am advocating to New York. Look at the need. Look at where the cases are. Look at where the damage has been done.” (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here is more of what Governor Cuomo said in his daily briefing:

“New York State has been very aggressive on testing and our state lab has been very aggressive on testing. Our state lab is now developing an antibody test which is a fast and not invasive test. The State Department of Health can do 300 tests a day. By next Friday, they will be able to do 1,000 tests and 2,000 tests the following week. That’s great, sounds like a lot but 2,000 tests are still a drop in the bucket, and I’m proud of how New Yorkers advanced on testing. You look at how quickly New York State has moved on testing and how many tests we have done – we’ve done a higher percentage of tests in New York State than other countries have done and New York State far exceeds what this nation as a whole is doing on testing. Even with our high capacity and high performance on testing it’s still not enough. It’s not enough if you want to reopen on a meaningful scale and reopen quickly so the testing front is going to be a challenge for us.

“Why can’t New York just develop more tests and do more testing? How do we get New York State Department of Health to scale? That’s an issue that we’ve been working on it’s harder than it sounds. You need certain reagents so you can do the testing. You need certain materials so you can do the testing. It’s very hard to get these reagents right. You’re in a situation where countries all across the globe are trying to do the same thing.

“Federal government has something called the Defense Production Act, DPA they call it, which I’ve been saying from day one is a very powerful tool for the federal government to use when they need to secure a product in the defense of this nation. This is in the defense of this nation. The federal government has used it effectively. They’ve used that in this situation more as a point of leverage than anything else, basically saying to a company, you know, we need you to do this, we do have the Defense Production Act that we could use. But we need an unprecedented mobilization where government can produce these tests in the millions.

“New York State Department of Health is doing is doing several thousand. We have 9 million people we want to get back to work. You need more than several thousand tests per week if this is going to happen any time soon. Private sector companies on their own, I don’t believe will be able to come to scale. We’re working with the private sector companies. They have the tests but they don’t have the capacity to come to scale. You’re going to need government intervention to make that happen and the federal government is in the best position to do that.

“New York State offers to be a full partner with the federal government. We do have the largest number of cases in New York. New York is an economic engine. I can’t do it as a state. If I had a Defense Production Act in the state, I would use it. I would use it. I don’t have that tool, the federal government does. Any way we can partner with the federal government to get these tests up to scale as quickly as possible, we are all in. I like to operate as a coalition with New Jersey and Connecticut because we are the tri-state area. I have spoken to Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont of Connecticut. They will join in a testing coalition. So, I ask the federal government if you are willing to step in and use the federal powers, New York State and New Jersey and Connecticut would partner with the federal government. And let’s get the testing up to scale quickly so we can start to build that bridge to reopening the economy.

“Second on reopening, you need a federal stimulus bill. You need a federal stimulus bill – they passed a couple already. But you need a fair federal stimulus bill that is not a political pork barrel bill. You know where the cases are. You know where the need is. I understand the political dynamics of the U.S. Senate but this is not a time to be passing bills that really are to make sure your home state gets enough funding. That’s not what this is about. This is about helping the country coming back and focusing on the need. When I says the bills were unfair to New York, the past bills, it is not just that I am advocating to New York. Look at the need. Look at where the cases are. Look at where the damage has been done. The federal government is trying to address that damage. You know where it has been done. Look at the chart on where the cases exist. Look at the number of deaths, the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations and help those places come back and come back quickly. That’s what the stimulus bill is supposed to be doing.

“Also, let’s make sure we are learning from what we just went through and are going through. Because there are lessons I think we should all be aware of over the past few months. And before you take a step forward, let’s make sure we know what we are stepping into. A question I had from day one, when you look back at this, where were the horns that should have been triggered back in December and January. Where were the warning signs? Who was supposed to blow the whistle? The President has asked this question and if think he’s right. The President’s answer is the World Health Organization should have been blowing the whistle. I don’t know enough to know if that’s right or wrong, but I know the question is right and sometimes the question is more important than the answer.

“How did this happen? I still want to know how this happened. Because the warning signs were there. And if you don’t know the answer, then how do you know it is not going to happen again, right? Fool me once – January, you go back and look at the headlines in January and you see questions and you see warnings. Now, they were all over the map, but we saw what was happening in Asia. We saw what was happening in Europe. Where were the international experts saying, ‘Well, if this is happening there, this is what we should expect to happen in the United States? Or prepare to happen in the United States?’ January, February, you still had sources in this country saying basically there’s nothing to worry about. You know, how did that happen? Did we really need to be in this situation where the United States winds up with a higher number of cases than the places that went before? We sat here and we watched China. China winds up have 84,000 cases, we wind up having 474,000 cases. I mean, how does that happen? We saw South Korea. They wind up with 10,000 cases. Italy, where we saw a collapse of the whole health system, winds up with 143,000 cases.

“I raise the question because the answer, again, is less important than the question, but before we move forward let’s make sure we’re not repeating the same mistake that we made, right? George Santayana. ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ I don’t want to repeat what we just repeated, what we just went through over this past month.

“So, what are the relevant questions? Is there going to be a second wave? Let’s look at the countries that have gone through this reopening process and what can we learn from them? Right? Well, we have to start to reopen. Let’s look at what the other countries who have gone before us, what they did, what worked and what didn’t work. When you take just a cursory review you see caution signs. Hong Kong appeared to have the virus under control, they let its guard down, the virus came back. Hong Kong recorded the biggest rise in cases and a new wave of infections. Is that true? Could it happen here? Article yesterday, Italy has seen a bump in the number of cases. You know, before we take a step make sure we are more informed and more aware than we were in the past. They’re talking about a second wave in Singapore.

“You got back and you look at the 1918 flu epidemic. That was over 10 months. There was a first wave, there was a second wave. The second wave was worse than the first wave because the virus mutated. Third peak and the whole experience was 10 months. Is there any extrapolation to where we are today? I don’t know the answers. This is not what I do. It’s not what a state does.

“But, we know the questions and we should have the questions answered before we take a step forward. Yes, no one has been here before. These are totally uncharted waters. But we do know that none of this is predetermined and it is all a function of our actions. We are in total control of our destiny here. What we do will effect literally live and death for hundreds of people.

“So, where do we go from here? First, keep doing what we’re doing. Stay home because that works. We are flattening the curve, we must continue to flatten the curve. We have to get testing to scale. That is an entirely new exercise. It’s something we still haven’t done well in this country. We need both diagnostic testing and antibody testing. We need millions and millions of them. We need them in a matter of weeks, not months.

“We have to be more prepared as a nation. We should never go through this scramble that we went through with states competing against other states to buy masks from China. I mean, we should just never have been here in the first place, but certainly we should never be here again. And then let’s make sure we study the waters ahead and proceed with caution before we set off on the next journey. When we talk about reopening, let’s study the data and let’s look at what has happened around the world. Let’s make sure the best health minds in the country are giving us their best advice.

“How do we go forward? We stay New York tough. New York tough means more than just tough, it means discipline. It means unified. It means loving. And it means smart. Now is a time to be smart. Now more than ever. That’s what it means to be New York tough and we are.”

“The actual curve, today 18,569, is much, much better. How do you create a curve so different from the projections? In fairness to experts, nobody has been here before, and a big variable was what policies would put in place, and a bigger variable is whether people listen to the policies you put in place. Just because you announce a policy– to close businesses and everybody stay home – if people don’t take seriously or feel is political, they wouldn’t follow it.”

Finally, the Governor confirmed 10,575 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 170,512 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 170,512 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

CountyTotal PositiveNew Positive
Albany42647
Allegany264
Broome1127
Cattaraugus181
Cayuga2711
Chautauqua202
Chemung590
Chenango605
Clinton433
Columbia744
Cortland171
Delaware392
Dutchess1,598105
Erie1,40947
Essex102
Franklin110
Fulton183
Genesee659
Greene346
Hamilton30
Herkimer364
Jefferson431
Lewis60
Livingston293
Madison998
Monroe74244
Montgomery291
Nassau21,5121,372
Niagara15610
NYC92,3845,356
Oneida17214
Onondaga36911
Ontario518
Orange4,532442
Orleans242
Oswego360
Otsego412
Putnam48749
Rensselaer9112
Rockland7,122457
Saratoga18210
Schenectady19124
Schoharie120
Schuyler51
Seneca150
St. Lawrence782
Steuben11728
Suffolk18,6921,279
Sullivan31824
Tioga181
Tompkins1050
Ulster53070
Warren433
Washington261
Wayne412
Westchester18,0771,073
Wyoming301
Yates21