Welcome to the WBD News Flash, your weekly highlight of HR benefits and healthcare news. Weekly, we will provide you with the top trending industry news stories in healthcare, human resources, legislation, benefits technology and administration, and more. Make the WBD News Flash your go to reference for current events!

Government Advisory Panel Doesn’t Back Vaccine Boosters

A month after the Biden administration announced it would support third Covid-19 vaccine shots for the general population, a committee of experts who advise the FDA have advised against the policy. They endorsed a third vaccination for Americans 65 and older, or with high risk of severe disease from infection by Covid-19. They also recommended it for health care workers and others who run a high risk of infection. The FDA is not bound by this recommendation, and will make a decision in coming days about the booster shot.

Overburdened Hospitals Turn Away Patients as Covid-19 Surge Continues

Treatments such as cancer surgeries and organ transplants are being delayed at hospitals overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients. Doctors at a hospital in Oregon told KHN they’re delaying care such as open-heart surgeries, brain tumor treatment, and other procedures, sometimes at the last minute. Oregon’s hospital system is already limited, with just 1.7 hospital beds per thousand people — the lowest number in the country. In Nevada, Utah, and Alaska, doctors and the relatives of patients are relating stories about their experiences with rationed care, delayed surgeries, and deaths due to full ICUs. Some hospitals are requesting aid from the National Guard.

Ending Public Health Emergency Could Drop 15 Million People From Medicaid

A study from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that an estimated 15 million Americans could lose healthcare through Medicaid if the current Public Health Emergency ends in 2022. Key to many users’ coverage is a federal law prohibiting states from disenrolling Medicaid beneficiaries. The study suggests that about a third of enrollees who become ineligible once this law ends will be able to find ACA marketplace plans with premium tax credits. The study recommends that states move gradually to change enrollment back to previous income requirements in order to minimize the potential for people to lose health care.