Republican governors from half of the states told President Biden he should end the public health emergency tied to the coronavirus pandemic, saying the designation is “artificially” bloating their Medicaid rolls and costs.
In a Monday letter, 25 GOP governors pointed to Mr. Biden’s assertion in September that the “pandemic is over” even as the public health emergency nears its third year.
The governors say a continuous-enrollment requirement that keeps people enrolled in Medicaid until the end of the emergency has prevented them from kicking out persons who should no longer be eligible for the federal-state health insurance program.
Mr. Biden provided enhanced federal matching funds to take care of the ballooning Medicaid population.
Yet states also must pick up some share, and the governors said Medicaid rolls have expanded by about 20 million.
“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,” the governors, led by Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, wrote to Mr. Biden.
The governors said the public health emergency is set to expire in January but they assume it will be extended another 90 days into April.
The governors said the inability to knock people off the rolls is nonsensical because many people are returning to job-based insurance or buying private insurance.
“We know that a considerable number of individuals have returned to employer-sponsored coverage or are receiving coverage through the individual market, and yet states still must still account and pay for their Medicaid enrollment in our non-federal share,” they wrote. “This is costing states hundreds of millions of dollars.”