Sununu, Govs to Biden: End COVID-19 Public Emergency
Gov. Chris Sununu is leading an effort to get President Joe Biden to end the national public health emergency after three years because of the financial requirements for Medicaid.
The White House has extended the emergency declaration every 90 days since January 2020, and it is now in effect until January 11, 2023. States have not been notified that the order will be allowed to expire, so the governors are acting under assumption it will be renewed yet again until April 2023.
"The PHE is negatively affecting states, primarily by artificially growing our population covered under Medicaid (both traditional and expanded populations), regardless of whether individuals continue to be eligible under the program," Sununu and 24 other governors wrote in their letter. "While the enhanced federal match provides some assistance to blunt the increasing costs due to higher enrollment numbers in our Medicaid programs, states are required to increase our non-federal match to adequately cover all enrollees and cannot disenroll members from the program unless they do so voluntarily."
Outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also signed the letter.
The letter points out that during an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes in September, Biden stated the COVID-19 pandemic is order. The Senate reached a bipartisan resolution to end the national emergency.
"We agree with both your statement and the Senate’s resolution – it is time we move on from the pandemic and get back to life as normal," the governors wrote.
The public emergency declaration allows for certain flexibilities to waive or modify certain requirements in a range of areas, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. It also allowed for Medicare beneficiaries to receive telehealth services regardless of where they live, not just in rural areas.
It also helps with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, including allowing pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer shots regardless of state law. Healthcare providers licensed in one state can provide vaccinations in any state.