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FGA Applauds Governors for Calling for End of Public Health Emergency, Medicaid Handcuffs

Naples, FL – Yesterday, 25 governors, led by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, wrote to President Biden urging him to end the public health emergency (PHE) due to negative impacts on states, specifically the unchecked enrollment growth in state Medicaid programs. 

As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, states received additional federal funding for their Medicaid program. But that funding came with strings attached. States could not remove any enrollee, even if they became ineligible, from the program unless they died or moved. The result was an enrollment and spending tidal wave that’s washing out state budgets—limiting resources for the truly needy. 

“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,” wrote the governors. “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.”

In September, President Biden said “the pandemic is over,” but the federal government continues to extend the public health emergency indefinitely. This means that pandemic-era policies, particularly the Medicaid handcuffs, will continue. The emergency declaration was supposed to end in mid-January, but states have not received the required 60 days’ notice—leading the governors to believe that it will be renewed for another 90 days and (hopefully) expire in April 2023. 

“America’s governors see the disastrous effects of the never-ending emergency more clearly than any D.C. bureaucrat could, especially in their state Medicaid programs,” said Tarren Bragdon, FGA President and CEO. “I applaud these governors for saying what Washington needs to hear—it’s time to end the emergency and break the grip pandemic policies have on our country. If the federal government fails to act, these governors should opt out of the additional funding and remove the Medicaid handcuffs Washington has placed on their states.”

The other cosigners were Governors Kay Ivey (Alabama), Mike Dunleavy (Alaska), Doug Ducey (Arizona), Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas), Ron DeSantis (Florida), Brian Kemp (Georgia), Brad Little (Idaho), Eric Holcomb (Indiana), Kim Reynolds (Iowa), Charlie Baker (Massachusetts), Tate Reeves (Mississippi), Mike Parson (Missouri), Greg Gianforte (Montana), Pete Ricketts (Nebraska), Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Henry McMaster (South Carolina), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Kristi Noem (South Dakota), Kevin Stitt (Oklahoma), Bill Lee (Tennessee), Greg Abbott (Texas), Spencer Cox (Utah), Glenn Youngkin (Virginia), and Mark Gordon (Wyoming).


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