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Reauthorizing PAHPA: Recommendations for Congress

President at Paragon Health Institute
Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the President of Paragon Health Institute. Brian was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC) from 2017-2019, where he coordinated the development and execution of numerous health policies and advised the President, NEC director, and senior officials. After leaving the White House, Brian founded Blase Policy Strategies and serves as its CEO.

This morning, Paragon released a policy brief authored by Drew Keyes and Dr. Joel M. Zinberg, MD entitled, Reauthorizing PAHPA: Recommendations for Congress. The Pandemics and All-Hazards Preparedness Act expires on September 30, and this is the first PAHPA reauthorization after the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief provides policymakers with crucial background information on PAHPA, and Drew and Joel make the following recommendations:

  • In reauthorizing PAHPA, Congress should avoid issues outside the scope of preparedness and response.
  • Congress should prioritize private sector solutions in addressing the Strategic National Stockpile and supply chain issues and enhance opportunities for the public-private partnerships that worked well during the pandemic.
  • While CDC had multiple pandemic failures, Congress should resist the impulse to use PAHPA reauthorization to comprehensively reform the CDC. Congress should, outside the reauthorization process, authorize CDC in full for the first time in its history and refocus the agency on its core mission.
  • Congress should account for newly created authorities to avoid duplication and waste and use reauthorization to streamline emergency responses and place guardrails around emergency powers.

Here is their conclusion:
As lawmakers consider the reauthorization of PAHPA, they should view the lawmaking exercise as an opening salvo in restoring the nation’s public health infrastructure to their core missions. While lawmakers should refrain from expanding the scope of PAHPA beyond its original jurisdiction, Congress should pursue reforms that reduce redundancy, right-size government, and learn from the failures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read the policy brief in full here.
Relatedly, this coming Monday, Paragon will be releasing a comprehensive report from Drew and Joel on reforming the CDC, entitled Unauthorized and Unprepared: Refocusing the CDC after COVID-19. This report will be co-published with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

All the best,
Brian Blase
Paragon Health Institute

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