Policy Watch

Quick-hitting policy analysis, polling, and updates on the key issues facing the country.

Medication Abortion and Telemedicine: Innovations and Barriers During the COVID-19 Emergency

UPDATE
On April 12th, 2021, the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) notified ACOG that they will exercise enforcement discretion during the ongoing public health emergency with respect to in-person dispensing requirements of mifepristone based on a safety reviewEffectively, this will allow providers in states that do not have laws that would otherwise ban this practice to dispense mifepristone using the telehealth protocol for medication abortion. On May 7th, 2021, in response to the ACLU lawsuit, the FDA announced in a court filing that a review of the REMS is currently underway. 

State actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted their divergent approaches to abortion access. Some states classified abortion as a non-essential service, effectively banning services, while others have clarified that abortion is an essential service. In a handful of states, some clinics have begun to offer medication abortions using telemedicine. This approach maintains access to abortion while social distancing, preserving personal protective equipment (PPE), and limiting in-person health care visits and risk of exposure.

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COVID-19 Vaccination and Parental Consent

With the recent authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents, ages 12-15, a group that totals almost 17 million, the next phase of the U.S. vaccination effort has begun. Authorization for even younger children is expected as early as the fall, and even before this point, Pfizer’s vaccine had been…

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Persistent Vaccine Myths

With news that the country has now vaccinated half of its population with at least one dose, This Drew Altman Axios column highlights the persistent COVID-19 vaccine myths that are believed by a substantial portion of the unvaccinated population and discusses the options to address vaccine misinformation.

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Putting U.S. Global COVID-19 Vaccine Donations in Context

While some have praised the most recent U.S. donation announcement as an important development, others have said the U.S. could do much more, pointing to the large supply of doses the U.S. is building up and the slowing demand for vaccinations in the country.  In this policy watch, we sought to put the U.S. pledge of 80 million doses in further context.

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We aren’t getting a national vaccine ‘passport.’ So let’s use the next best thing: CDC vaccination cards.

In this op-ed for The Washington Post, Drew Altman suggests a way out of the heated debate about a COVID-19 vaccination passport to help provide clarity about who is vaccinated and who still ought to wear masks in public spaces or the workplace by using something that already exists– CDC vaccination cards.

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How Might Current Federal Drug Pricing Proposals Impact Medicaid?

Although attention in current federal actions is largely focused on Medicare and private insurance drug prices, federal legislation also has been recently introduced or enacted that would affect Medicaid prescription drug policy.

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