DGA Statement on the Trump Administration’s Latest Attempt to End the Affordable Care Act

Today, the Trump administration is expected to formally file briefs in support of striking down the entire Affordable Care Act.

DGA Chair New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy released the following statement:

“Democratic governors are the strongest line of defense against the harmful Trump agenda, and we are taking wide-sweeping action to codify ACA provisions, expand coverage, and lower costs because we know this is a life or death issue that touches every family. Democratic governors will continue to fight for accessible, affordable healthcare for all Americans.”

Democratic governors have always led on healthcare and continue to do so during the pandemic, while many Republican governors still refuse to expand access to affordable healthcare in their states.

During a fundraiser this week, President Obama called out Republican governors for giving up billions in federal dollars and blocking Medicaid expansion in their states. In the states that have refused to expand Medicaid, 40 percent of people who lose their health insurance when they lose their job will end up with no coverage at all.

The 14 states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA all have Republican governors or Republican legislatures that have blocked Democratic governors from increasing access to healthcare.

Read more about the work Democratic governors have done to protect and expand access to health care during the pandemic:

CALIFORNIA: Gov. Newsom Requests Federal Waiver To Cover Medi-cal Patients, Expand Telehealth As Part Of State’s Covid-19 Response

[KTLA, 3/18/20]

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that California has requested a federal waiver to cover Medi-Cal recipients and expand telehealth options in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

COLORADO: Colorado opens special health insurance enrollment period for uninsured people through April 3

[The Denver Channel, 3/19/20]

Colorado will open up a special enrollment period from March 20 through April 3 in which Coloradans who are currently uninsured can enroll for a state insurance plan that would kick in starting April 1. Only people who are currently uninsured are eligible to enroll during the special period – people with already-existing plans through Connect for Health Colorado will not be able to change their plans.

CONNECTICUT: Access Health Connecticut Announce New Enrollment Period for Uninsured Residents Amid COVID-19 Concerns

[NBC Connecticut, 3/18/20]

Access Health CT announced a new special enrollment period for uninsured Connecticut residents on Tuesday morning. Starting Thursday, March 19 until Thursday, April 2, individuals can sign up for a health insurance plan offered by either of Access Health CT’s two insurance carriers. […] “We are experiencing a moment in history that requires flexibility and innovative ways to access healthcare,” said Chief Executive Officer at Access Health CT James Michel.

DELAWARE: Governor Carney, DHSS announce Statewide COVID-19 Testing Plan in Coordination with Delaware Health Care Systems

[My Newark Local, 3/20/20]

Governor John Carney, along with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), announced on Friday a coordinated statewide plan to ensure individuals with symptoms consistent with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have access to safe and efficient testing in Delaware. Tests will be administered at no cost to the patients.

HAWAII: EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 20-02

[Office of Governor David Ige, 3/20/20]

For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, licensed providers are able to deliver telehealth without an in-person consultation or a prior existing physician-patient relationship. Additionally, out-of-state physicians, osteopathic physicians, and physician assistants with a current and active license, or those who were previously licensed, but who are no longer current and active, will be allowed to deliver telehealth in Hawai‘i without a license. Requirements for in-person consultation and prior existing physician-patient relationship will be waived, provided that they have never had their license revoked or suspended and are hired by a state or county agency or facility or by a hospital, including related clinics and rehabilitation hospitals, nursing home, hospice, pharmacy, or clinical laboratory.

ILLINOIS: Gov. Pritzker to file federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage during COVID-19 pandemic

[KFVS, 3/14/20]

Governor JB Pritzker announced today that his administration will file a federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage as COVID-19 continues to spread.

“With the federal government’s newly declared state of emergency, under the Stafford Act my administration is filing a request for a federal waiver to allow our Medicaid program to more freely respond to the COVID-19 crisis by expanding medical services,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “During this crisis my administration is working to ensure that those who fear that they may be getting sick have access to the testing and treatment that they need without being saddled with costly medical bills for their care.”

KANSAS: Governor Kelly addresses supply shortage, healthcare capacity in Executive Orders

[WIBW, 3/22/20]

Governor Laura Kelly announced two executive orders Sunday in an ongoing effort to protect Kansans’ health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Kelly said, “By allowing more doctors to practice in Kansas – and more patients to be seen remotely – we can alleviate the increasing burden on our healthcare system.” She added, “Expanding the use of telemedicine for nonemergency-related assessments like routine checkups and prescribing medication, frees up additional time, resources and physical space in our hospitals and clinics.”

KENTUCKY: Kynect is coming back. Beshear plans to revive state health insurance exchange

[Louisville Courier Journal, 6/17/20]

Kynect is coming back. Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday his administration will revive the state health insurance exchange launched in 2013 by his father, former Gov. Steve Beshear, under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. It was abolished by his successor, former Gov. Matt Bevin. Andy Beshear said he is committed to making health coverage easily accessible to as many people in Kentucky as possible. “This pandemic shows us that the lack of good health care options make us more vulnerable and less resilient,” he said.

LOUISIANA: Gov. Edwards announces creation of COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

[WGNO, 4/10/20]

On Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the creation of the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will look at how health inequities are affecting communities that are most impacted by the coronavirus.

MAINE: State orders insurers to continue health coverage for displaced workers

[Press Herald, 3/27/20]

The Maine Bureau of Insurance has issued an order saying that if an employer lays off or furloughs a worker and wants to continue offering employer-sponsored group health insurance coverage to the worker, the company’s health insurance provider can’t deny coverage. The bureau issued the order Friday, a supplement to Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order Monday that, in part, authorized Maine Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa to exercise emergency powers for the duration of the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

MICHIGAN: Gov. Whitmer signs bills requiring insurers to cover telemedicine and remote services

[WLNS, 6/24/20]

Today, Governor Whitmer signed House Bills 5412-5416, which states that patients’ telemedicine and remote patient monitoring services will be covered by insurance companies not just now during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also for years to come.

MINNESOTA: Gov. Walz, MNsure re-open enrollment period for health insurance

[Bring Me The News, 3/20/20]

Gov. Tim Walz and MNsure have announced a 30-day “special enrollment period” for those without health insurance to sign up amid the growing number of coronavirus cases. The enrollment period begins Monday and runs through Apr. 21, giving uninsured people 30 days to enroll in coverage through MNSure. As well as offering coverage for the already uninsured, those who have recently lost their health insurance through their employer may also be eligible to enroll so coverage can continue at the end of the individual’s work-based insurance.

MONTANA: Governor: Testing, treatment for uninsured Montanans; unemployment streamlined

[NBC Montana, 3/17/20]

In a teleconference with the media Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Steve Bullock announced several new measures the state is taking to stem the spread of coronavirus and alleviate the financial burden on Montanans. Bullock said state emergency funding will be used to pay for COVID-19 testing and treatment for uninsured Montanans who have a recommendation from a doctor.

NEVADA: Nevada insurance exchange expanding enrollment because of virus

[Las Vegas Sun, 3/17/20]

Nevada’s public health insurance marketplace is offering another enrollment period because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange announced today it will open an exceptional circumstance special enrollment period for Nevadans who missed the open enrollment period earlier this year. The period will run from today to April 15.

NEW JERSEY: Murphy waives fees for COVID-19 testing for some NJ residents

[FOX 29 Philadelphia, 3/10/20]

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state will waive fees for COVID-19 testing for more than 2 million residents on certain health plans.

The waivers apply to residents with health insurance through their jobs with the state and public schools, as well as to those using the state’s social safety net programs.

NEW YORK: New York announces special enrollment period for uninsured as coronavirus cases climb

[WROC, 3/17/20]

The New York State of Health and the State Department of Financial Services will offer a special enrollment period for uninsured New Yorkers. This is to help protect people during the COVID-19 public health emergency. People who enroll in qualified health plans between now and April 15 will have coverage starting April 1.

NEW MEXICO: Free COVID-19 testing and treatment guaranteed for New Mexicans

[KOB4, 3/13/20]

The New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance Russell Toal has issued an emergency rule prohibiting health insurers from imposing cost sharing, including copays, coinsurance and deductibles, for testing and health care services related to COVID-19. 

“Gov. Lujan Grisham has made clear that New Mexico will take aggressive, proactive steps to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19. A key part of that strategy is ensuring access to free, high-quality care, including testing and treatment,” said Superintendent Toal. “We thank New Mexico insurers for cooperating with OSI in the formulation of this rule.”

NORTH CAROLINA: Gov. Cooper provides emergency flexibility to expand hospital beds, equipment and personnel during the pandemic

[WNCT, 4/8/20]

Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 130, which to expands the pool of health care workers and orders essential childcare services for workers responding to the crisis.

“In a time of emergency we need to make it easier for hospitals to free up bed space and hire more medical staff and this order does that,” Governor Cooper said. 

OREGON: Oregon Gov. requests open enrollment through Healthcare.gov amid coronavirus pandemic

[KATU, 3/25/20]

Gov. Brown is calling on Health and Human Services to open a special enrollment period for Oregonians to get health insurance through HealthCare.gov. The open enrollment deadline passed back in December 2019 and won’t open again until November 2020. “Many Oregonians are uninsured or underinsured and now find their families’ budgets significantly tightened due to this national emergency,” Brown said in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “In order to remove any potential barriers that remain, it is critical for all Oregonians to have access to a special enrollment period.”

PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Wolf announces $450 million loan program for hospitals

[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/10/20]

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday announced a $450 million loan program for Pennsylvania’s hospitals to help them weather the financial strain expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hospital Emergency Loan Program (HELP) will offer eligible licensed hospitals loans up to $10 million each, at an interest rate of 0.5 %, for costs incurred between March 1 and Sept. 1. The money is intended to act as a financial bridge until funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is disbursed.

RHODE ISLAND: Special enrollment period available for Rhode Islanders losing health coverage

[The Westerly Sun, 3/31/20]

HealthSource RI is offering a special enrollment period for health insurance coverage for Rhode Islanders for up to 60 days from the time that a change in employment status causes the loss of previous coverage.

Loss of health coverage is a qualifying event which allows enrollment through HealthSource RI, which is the state’s health insurance exchange. For Rhode Islanders who are also experiencing a change in income, plans through HealthSource RI may be more affordable than COBRA coverage or other options because financial assistance is available. Individuals making less than $51,040 annually and a family of four making less than $103,000 are eligible for assistance.

VIRGINIA: Northam: Co-pays eliminated for all Medicaid services in Virginia

[WTVR, 3/19/20]

All co-payments for Medicaid services have been eliminated in an effort to increase access to health care for Virgina’s 1.5 million Medicaid members., Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday. Patients will no longer have to pay co-pays for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.

Additionally, Northam ensured that current Medicaid members will not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.

WASHINGTON: COVID-19: Inslee issues order to restart state’s health care system

[KOMO, 5/18/20]

Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday announced a plan to restart the state’s health care system, which has been on the front line of the effort to contain and treat the coronavirus that has been linked to over 1,000 deaths statewide.

The announcement covers dental procedures and elective surgeries if providers comply with certain safety guidelines and have adequate personal protective equipment, or PPE.

WISCONSIN: DHS launches new online data tool

[WMTV, 6/23/20]

As we move through the reopening process, state health officials are launching a new tool. DHS says its new data dashboard will help Wisconsinites effectively respond to covid-19. The dashboard consists of a color-coded map and tables that show the activity level of the virus in different parts of the state. […] In the coming weeks, the dashboard will have information on disease surveillance, health care capacity, and public health response.