Thirteen governors want the federal public health emergency to last beyond April.

13 Democratic state governors wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra this week, urging him to extend the country’s public health emergency declaration for at least three more months. after the scheduled expiration in April.

Governors said Tuesday they need more time to prepare before the state of emergency ends. Their states have been providing a number of services and benefits during the pandemic that are dependent on federal resources, and those “will take a long time to thoughtfully degrade, sort of. fade away or, in some cases, go on forever,” the letter reads.

Benefits include support to expand access to telemedicine, extra food aid for low-income families, and other programs. The declaration also gives states more flexibility in implementing measures such as allowing hospitals and clinics to establish alternative treatment sites and allowing Medicaid recipients to continue enrolling without redefining. their eligibility.

Department of Health and Human Services promised to warn the states 60 days before making any changes to the return. The governors requested in their letter that the notice period be increased to 90 days.

Federal public health emergency declaration initially lasts 90 days and can be extended for a further 90 day period. Mr. Becerra and his predecessor, Alex M. Azar II, have expanded the pandemic declaration eight times since January 2020, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Confirm the country’s first coronavirus case.

The most recent extension took effect on January 16 and runs until April 16. Since that date is less than 60 days away and the administration has not sent any notice to the contrary, it seems likely another extension is in the tag.

Kirsten Allen, press secretary for Health and Human Services, said Wednesday that, “consistent with our commitment since the beginning of this administration,” the department “will notify states” state 60 days before it may terminate or expire in the Future.”

The letter to Secretary Becerra was signed by the governors of three West Coast states (California, Oregon and Washington); three in Mountain West (Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada); four in the Midwest (Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin); two on the East Coast (Delaware and Rhode Island); and Hawaii.

It contrasts with recent calls by Republican representatives in Congress, who urge the Biden administration by mid-February to end the statementcites expanding public access to vaccines and treatments as well as the social costs of expanding restrictions related to Covid-19.

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