“It is time we move on from the pandemic and get back to life as normal.”

Mass. Gov Charlie Baker. Elise Amendola/Associated Press, File

A group of 25 Republican governors, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, are calling on President Joe Biden to end two national states of emergency that were declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The demands were outlined in a letter sent to the White House Monday. The group of governors mostly focused on the Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE), which they claim is costing states hundreds of millions of dollars.

“It is time we move on from the pandemic and get back to life as normal,” they wrote. 

The officials said that the PHE is “artificially growing” the number of people covered under Medicaid, regardless of whether they continue to be eligible for the program. This, they said, is a problem because it forces states to pay more to cover the enrollees. 

“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,” they wrote. 

On top of this, a “considerable number” of people have begun receiving coverage from their employers or through the individual market, the governors said. States still have to account and pay for their Medicaid enrollment, they added. 

The PHE has been extended until Jan. 11, 2023, and the governors said that they are operating under the assumption that it will be renewed for 90 days, stretching into April of next year. They asked Biden to allow the PHE to expire in April.  

The governors also called for an end to the national emergency that was declared almost three years ago. 

“While the virus will be with us for some time, the emergency phase of the pandemic is behind us. We have come so far since the beginning of the pandemic— we now have the tools and information necessary to help protect our communities from COVID-19,” they wrote.

In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes in September, Biden said that “the pandemic is over,” The governors cited this quote and a recent Senate resolution to terminate the national emergency.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, states have added 20 million individuals to the Medicaid rolls (an increase of 30%) and those numbers continue to climb as the PHE continues to be extended every 90 days,” the governors wrote. “We urge you to end the national emergency and the PHE in April and provide states notice of those intentions well in advance to allow us to adequately plan for the future.”


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