IHA Daily Briefing: Feb. 19

Friday, February 19, 2021
IHA Summary: Governor’s FY2022 Budget Proposal
President Announces Key CMS Appointment
Chicago Improves Vaccination Racial Equity
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
U.S. Life Expectancy Dropped a Year in 2020

IHA Summary: Governor’s FY2022 Budget Proposal
Today, IHA sent members a detailed summary of the Governor’s FY2022 budget proposal. The budget proposal includes $41.588 billion in General Revenue spending, supported by a $41.708 billion revenue estimate, representing a largely flat spending proposal as compared to FY2021.

The introduced budget reallocates $645.7 million in General Revenue Funds (GRF), which in the past, would have been appropriated to Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to fund Medicaid services. The reallocation assumes that the enhanced federal Medicaid funding authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will continue through December 2021, replacing the reduced GRF funding to the Medicaid program. This, along with a number of other proposed spending reductions and tax regulation modifications designed to enhance revenue, provide a budget proposal that does not include a proposed income tax increase. The proposal does not include any Medicaid eligibility, service or rate reductions.


President Announces Key CMS Appointment
President Biden today announced that Chiquita Brooks-LaSure will serve as the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is currently Managing Director at Manatt. A former policy official who played a key role in guiding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through passage and implementation, Brooks-LaSure has more than 20 years of experience in health policy. She previously served as deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within CMS and as director of coverage policy at the Dept. of Health & Human Services, where she led the agency’s implementation of ACA coverage and insurance reform policy provisions.


Chicago Improves Vaccination Racial Equity
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced significant improvement in the percentage of vaccine administered to Chicagoans of color. Early in the vaccine roll-out, in Phase 1a when the focus was on healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and residents, only 18% of COVID vaccines were going to Black or Latinx Chicagoans. Data from the most recent week shows that 50% of first dose COVID vaccine went to Black or Latinx Chicagoans.

“Over the past month, we have doubled down on our efforts to not only drive vaccines into communities that need them most but ensure that our vaccination rates match the demographics of our city,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “The significant progress we have made is undoubtedly thanks to our equity-based vaccine strategy—which includes a number of initiatives, individuals, organizations and community engagement tactics. Though we still have a long way to go before we can fully achieve equity, this progress serves as an important reminder that the surest path to truly recovering and healing from this terrible pandemic is one that is built with equity at its foundation."

In December, the race/ethnicity of individuals who had received a first dose of the vaccine was: Latinx 9.8%; Black, non-Latinx 8.1%; White, non-Latinx 59.4%; Asian, non-Latinx 15.1%. For doses administered in the most recent week the numbers are: Latinx 26.2%; Black, non-Latinx 23.6%, White, non-Latinx 41.4%; Asian non-Latinx 5.6%.

The City last month launched its Protect Chicago Plus program, which targets vaccine supply and additional resources to 15 neighborhoods that have been most burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the City’s COVID vulnerability index. The first community targeted under this program was Belmont Cragin, where the City partnered with Northwest Side Housing Center, Oak Street Health and Lurie Children’s Hospital to host vaccination clinics and register residents for vaccination over the past couple weekends.

At a press conference with the Mayor this morning, The Loretto Hospital President and CEO George Miller announced that 90% of healthcare employees at the hospital have received at least one dose of the vaccine. CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady also said that vaccine shipments to the city are now returning to normal following weather-related delays earlier this week. Pfizer vaccine deliveries arrived yesterday, and Moderna deliveries are expected today and Monday.


State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today 2,219 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 63 deaths.

The total number of cases in the state is 1,170,902 with a total of 20,192 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 85,963 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 2.6%. The preliminary 7-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests from Feb. 12-18 is 2.8%, and the seven-day test positivity rate is 3.3%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours decreased from 1,655 patients to 1,596 patients. Of that figure, 366 patients were in the ICU, with 190 patients on ventilators.

A total of doses of 2,186,775 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 445,200 doses total have been allocated to the federal government's Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. This brings the total Illinois doses to 2,631,975. A total of 2,060,706 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight, including 271,142 for long-term care facilities. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 59,460 doses. Yesterday, 83,673 doses were administered, marking the highest single day amount of vaccines administered in Illinois.

Thursday’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 27.6 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 69,000 cases), with 489,067 deaths (a daily increase of 2,601).

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 109.9 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 384,000 cases), with more than 2.43 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 48.9 million cases and more than 1.15 million deaths.


U.S. Life Expectancy Dropped a Year in 2020
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that the average U.S. life expectancy dropped by a year in the first half of 2020, the largest decline since World War II.

Life expectancy at birth for the total U.S. population was 77.8 years – a decline from 78.8 in 2019. For males, the life expectancy at birth was 75.1 years – a decline of 1.2 years, and for females, life expectancy declined to 80.5 years, a 0.9 year decrease.

The group that saw the largest decline was non-Hispanic Black males, whose life expectancy dropped by three years. Hispanic males saw a large decrease in life expectancy, with a decline of 2.4 years. Non-Hispanic Black females saw a life expectancy decline of 2.3 years, and Hispanic females faced a decline of 1.1 years.

Deaths from COVID-19 and drug overdoses were the main factors in the overall drop in U.S. life expectancy.