Biden tweaking COVID-19 plan after Supreme Court blockage

President's push coming as omicron leveling off
President Biden tweaking COVID plan after Supreme Court blockage
Posted at 6:57 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 08:15:18-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden is faced with more questions this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked his nationwide vaccine mandate.

The White House is promising more free tests and masks along with military medical teams to help overwhelmed hospitals.

Biden says his plan is to order another 500 million at-home test kits to send to Americans - doubling the total to a billion - with the goal of eight free tests per person each month paid for through insurance.

The president's new push comes amid hopeful signs the omicron surge may be starting to level off in some East Coast cities, although cases and hospitalizations remain high nationwide.

"As long as we have tens of millions of people who will not get vaccinated, we're going to have needless hospitalizations and deaths," Biden said.

And while the Supreme Court blocked his mandate requiring vaccines or frequent testing for private companies with 100 or more workers, the high court did uphold a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers at federally-funded hospitals.

But, there are questions about meeting the demand for all these new rapid tests the president is ordering -- amid persistent supply and worker shortages -- as well as concerns insurance companies will wind up passing the cost on to consumers.