Last week, the Biden administration once again extended the COVID public health emergency, the 12th time it’s been extended in the past three years. Just weeks before, however, team Biden told the Supreme Court that there is no COVID emergency, and there hasn’t been one since last April.
Why the two diametrically opposed positions? Simple. Extending the public health emergency declaration lets Joe Biden keep millions of recipients on Medicaid and continue his student loan bailout. Claiming that COVID isn’t an emergency will open the floodgates to illegal immigrants.
Notice the connective tissue? It’s about expanding government dependency – for health care, for college aid, or for illegals getting on welfare. Who loses? You. And anyone else who pays taxes.
On Jan. 11, Biden Health and Human Service Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that “as a result of the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” he was renewing the public health emergency declaration because “a public health emergency exists and has existed since Jan. 27, 2020, nationwide.”
This isn’t about public health. It’s about government welfare.
As the Mercatus Center’s Liam Sigaud and Markus Bjoerkheim explained recently, one of the many COVID relief bills rushed through Congress “substantially increased the proportion of Medicaid costs that the federal government covers and barred states that receive the funding from checking enrollees’ eligibility or removing the ineligible from Medicaid rolls.”
As a result, Medicaid enrollment exploded by 30%.
Letting this “temporary” arrangement expire would mean up to 19 million would lose their free Medicaid health insurance. By extending the COVID emergency, Biden clearly hopes to make it impossible to kick them off Medicaid down the road.
Meanwhile, in a petition with the Supreme Court, Biden argues that his student loan forgiveness scheme is justified because “the COVID-19 pandemic is a ‘national emergency declared by the President of the United States.’”
Note that it says “is,” not “was.”
Among other things, the filing says that in March 2020, “then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos invoked the HEROES Act to pause repayment obligations and suspend interest accrual on all such loans,” and on Nov. 22, 2022, Biden’s Education Secretary Miguel Cardona extended that pause yet again because it would “alleviate uncertainty for borrowers” and “the continuing economic effects of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.”
But Biden talks out of the other side of his mouth when it comes to border security. In that case, there is no public health emergency that justifies the use of so-called Title 42 to expel illegal immigrants.
President Donald Trump used Title 42 as one of several strategies to secure the border. Under Title 42, rather than process illegal border crossers at government facilities on this side of the border, most of whom would then be released into the U.S., border agents could immediately send them back to Mexico.
In late December, Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told the Supreme Court that there was no public health emergency, and hasn’t been one since April 2022, when the Centers for Disease Control decreed that “the cross-border spread of COVID-19 due to covered noncitizens does not present the serious danger to public health that it once did, given the range of mitigation measures now available.”
As Just the News notes: “The solicitor general, responsible for arguing the federal government’s position before the Supreme Court, will be arguing that COVID-19 is, by turns — depending on the Biden policy being rationalized — an ongoing public health emergency (for purposes of preserving student loan forgiveness) yet also an abated public health threat (for purposes of rescinding Title 42).”
So, is there a COVID health emergency or not?
Despite repeated claims that we’re about to enter a new COVID surge, new cases so far this January are below where they were in December, and less than half what they were in July 2022. The number of COVID deaths counted by the CDC isn’t any higher than it was in May 2022, and a tiny fraction of the number from a year ago.
Meanwhile, even the mainstream media are willing to consider the idea that the official counts vastly overstated the number of COVID hospitalizations and deaths.
On Friday, the Washington Post published an op-ed by CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, who admitted that “90% of patients diagnosed with COVID are actually in the hospital for some other illness,” and that those who die with COVID are lumped in with those who died from COVID, making the disease appear deadlier than it is.
“Understanding this distinction is crucial to putting the continuing toll of the coronavirus into perspective,” Wen writes. “Determining how likely it is an infection will result in hospitalization or death helps people weigh their own risk.”
That’s a point we’ve been making in this space – repeatedly – for almost three years. (See, for example, our May 28, 2020, editorial “Just How Exaggerated Is The COVID-19 Death Count?” and our Sept. 16, 2021, editorial “Another COVID ‘Fact’ Turns Out To Be A Wild Exaggeration” for just two examples.)
Until now, we and anyone else saying such things were kicked off Twitter and YouTube, censored on Facebook, and branded as dangerous misinformation peddlers by Google and corporate media.
Still, doesn’t this mean that proponents of keeping Title 42 in place are guilty of the same thing as Biden but in reverse – claiming a COVID health emergency to keep illegals out while denying it exists anymore inside the U.S.?
Perhaps. And if Biden had a plan to deal with the border crisis, we’d say stop the pretense behind Title 42.
But even the Biden administration admits that Title 42 is currently the only thing keeping the flood of illegals under Biden from turning into a tsunami. In its petition to the Supreme Court, it says “The government recognizes that the end of the Title 42 orders will likely lead to disruption and a temporary increase in unlawful border crossings.”
Thanks to Biden’s dereliction of duty, there are legitimate public health reasons for keeping Title 42 in place besides COVID – namely the harm to the health, safety, and welfare of every American citizen if the country is overrun by unskilled foreigners looking for a handout.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board