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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Key Healthcare Provisions

On March 10, 2021, US Congress finalized and passed the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARPA), the latest COVID-19 relief package that largely tracks President Joe Biden’s initial $1.9 trillion proposal. The ARPA extends unemployment insurance benefits and provides direct $1,400 stimulus payments to qualifying Americans, but it also makes several important health policy-related changes. These include providing funding for vaccine distribution and testing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, making policy adjustments to the Medicaid program, facilitating health insurance coverage and providing more money for healthcare providers. The final bill also makes two narrowly focused technical Medicare payment changes.

This summary highlights notable health policy provisions of the final bill.

Access the summary.

For more information, please contact Meg Gilley, Mara McDermott, Kristen O’Brien, Katie Waldo, Rodney Whitlock or Eric Zimmerman.




COVID-19 Relief Bill Offers COBRA Reform and Temporarily Increases DCAP Maximum

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) providing Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) reform provisions and an increase in Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) maximum deferrals. While details from the agencies are forthcoming, here is an overview of these provisions of the ARPA.

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Establishing a CPOD Model: 5 Initial Steps for Employers

A “closed point of dispensing” (CPOD) is emerging as a valuable model for employers working to make vaccines more broadly available as the United States moves toward mass vaccination efforts. Establishing a CPOD requires a deliberate strategy but can be done efficiently and proactively by taking a few initial steps.

View the checklist.




4 Discrimination Law Questions Looming as Biden Era Begins

President Joe Biden is expected to usher in a decidedly more worker-friendly environment than his predecessor, but whether Congress or the courts embrace similar pro-employee leanings over the next four years is anyone’s guess.

In a recent article for Law360, McDermott partner Daniel Doron weighs in on four top-of-mind questions about bias law that may soon be addressed under the Biden administration.

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Employee Rewards in M&A Transactions: Comparability Provisions

Companies enter into merger & acquisition (M&A) deals for a range of reasons, but how employees are treated once a deal closes depends largely on the buyer’s deal strategy. Often the buyer signs a deal under the promise that the acquired business’ employees will continue to receive rewards at deal close that are comparable to those they received before, at least for a specified period of time. But why include such comparability provisions in deal terms given that they appear to restrict the buyer? What do these provisions typically cover? And what are best practices?

Willis Tower Watson recently tapped law firms with leading M&A advisory teams, including McDermott’s Carole Spink, to dig into the answers.

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Transformative Healthcare Collaboration Opportunities Emerge from COVID-19 Pandemic

The seismic, virtually overnight transformation of healthcare delivery as a result of the pandemic has flung open doors to innovation, as a diverse cross-section of digital health and life sciences stakeholders mobilize crisis resources; adjust operations for enhanced screening, sanitization and social distancing measures; harness telehealth capabilities to deliver healthcare remotely; and identify opportunities for smarter, better healthcare going forward.

Writing for The US-Israel Legal Review, partners from McDermott’s Health practice highlight the challenges and opportunities that digital health and life sciences operators and investors should consider as the industry charts a course through the post-pandemic changed healthcare landscape.

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What’s Expected in Employment Law in 2021?

Last year ended as an unprecedented and historic year, with far-reaching effects across diversity, equity and inclusion, employment practices and workplace standards. In a recent article for International Law Office, partners from McDermott’s Employment group highlight what changes are expected in 2021 and how these may affect employers and employees.

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EEOC Proposes New Rules on Wellness Programs

On January 7, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued proposed guidance regarding employer-sponsored wellness programs and the level of incentives employers may offer employees who participate in these programs in the form of two proposed rules. On January 20, 2021, the Biden administration ordered agencies to immediately withdraw most unpublished rules, including the EEOC proposed rules. Agencies may not issue any new regulations until they can be reviewed and approved by agency or department heads appointed or designated by President Biden.

Access the article.




The EEOC Releases First Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its first direct guidance for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Important takeaways from the guidance, as well as FAQs from the EEOC, are discussed in the attached link.

Access the article.




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