Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and 24 other Republican governors on Monday wrote to President Joe Biden demanding the end of the COVID-19 national emergency that began in March 2020.
“While the virus will be with us for some time, the emergency phase of the pandemic is behind us,” the governors’ letter reads, adding that state leaders now have tools and information to help protect communities from the virus.
60 Minutes Revelation
“You recognized this yourself in a ‘60 Minutes’ interview in September when you said, ‘The pandemic is over,’” the letter continues.
Biden’s announcement in the “60 Minutes” interview also was a factor for a federal judge who ruled Biden’s pandemic-era student loan forgiveness attempt unconstitutional. The loan forgiveness case is being contemplated in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. Senate on Nov. 15 passed a bipartisan resolution, 61-37, to end the national emergency, the letter adds.
“We agree with both your statement and the Senate’s resolution,” wrote the governors. “It is time we move on from the pandemic and get back to life as normal.”
The Federal Public Health Emergency, in addition to the national emergency, had been extended until Jan. 11, 2023. The governors speculate that since they haven’t received notice of that status ending, it likely will be renewed until April at least.
The governors are asking Biden to let that emergency provision expire in April and to give the states ample notice.
Medicaid Rolls In Bloom
The public health emergency, the governors said, “is negatively affecting states” by “artificially growing our population covered under Medicaid.”
States are not allowed to remove patients from their Medicaid rolls during the public health emergency, even once they become ineligible to receive federal medical funding.
Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti told Cowboy State Daily in a past interview that once the emergency is lifted, Wyoming will need to conduct a thorough eligibility review of its Medicaid services.
This is causing a double-funding scenario, the governors said in their letter. Though the federal government has given funding to cover the excess Medicaid costs, the states still pay a share – sometimes even as patients double up by going back to employer or individual coverage while still on Medicaid.
“This is costing states hundreds of millions of dollars,” the letter states.
The governors said that since the beginning of the pandemic, states have added 20 million people to Medicaid rolls, an increase of 30%.
“And those numbers continue to climb” with the public health emergency being renewed every 90 days for nearly three years.
The governors besdies Gordon who signed the letter include:
- Gov. Chris Sununu, New Hampshire
- Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama
- Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Alaska
- Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona
- Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas
- Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida
- Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia
- Gov. Brad Little, Idaho
- Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana
- Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa
- Gov. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts
- Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi
- Gov. Mike Parson, Missouri
- Gov. Greg Gianforte, Montana
- Gov. Pete Ricketts, Nebraska
- Gov. Doug Burgum, North Dakota
- Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio
- Gov. Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma
- Gov. Henry McMaster, South Carolina
- Gov. Kristi Noem, South Dakota
- Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee
- Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas
- Gov. Spencer Cox, Utah
- Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia