Federal policies and regulations to control the spread of COVID-19 could shift markedly under a new U.S. president, health economist writes.

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In an article published today (Oct. 14) by the New England Journal of Medicine, NYU Wagner’s dean Sherry Glied, a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration, envisions federal policies and regulations that a Biden administration could establish to fight COVID-19, “the most pressing health care crisis our nation has faced in a century.”

The perspective piece is titled “Health Care in a Biden Administration.”

According to Glied, an election victory next month by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, accompanied by Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, would probably lead to the restoration of the U.S. Affordable Care Act’s original functionality in full, guaranteeing protections for people with pre-existing health problems, raising the total number of people covered, and restraining out-of-pocket costs for those with high-cost conditions.

Glied observes that current policies and approaches have produced “devastating” health and economic results, and that a Biden administration would likely implement a more effective pandemic response. Using federal authority, new leadership in Washington, D.C., would bring about “a national Covid-19 response that improves production and equitable distribution of personal protective equipment, testing, and vaccines,” she writes. As well, a Public Health Job Corps could be established and mobilized to conduct contact tracing.

A Biden victory in November could also move the U.S. to the forefront of emphasizing preparedness against future pandemics and expanding America’s participation in, and the global presence of, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, writes Glied.

“Just as President Barack Obama relied on incremental, practical changes to accomplish the most far-reaching and substantive reform of the U.S. health care system in 50 years, a Biden administration could take a variety of practical and efficient steps to ensure that an improved and less costly system serves all Americans,” according to Glied.

In addition to her service in the Obama administration, Glied was a senior economist for healthcare and labor market policy on the President's Council of Economic Advisers under both President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton, and a participant in President Clinton's Health Care Task Force, heading working groups on global budgets and the economic impacts of Clinton’s reform plan.

She is available to comment on the article: Please contact the NYU press officer listed with this release to arrange an interview.

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