COVID19

Earlier this evening, the House Ways & Means Committee formally published the markup of nine legislative provisions which, if they all survive the process, will make up roughly half of President Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, aka the American Rescue Plan:

The Ways and Means’ proposals comprise half of the $1.9 trillion Democratic COVID-19 relief package

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) announced the Committee will consider nine legislative proposals under the budget reconciliation instructions this week as the next step in delivering COVID-19 relief to the American people. Beginning on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. through Friday, February 12, 2021, the Committee will markup proposals spanning from extending unemployment insurance to expanding the child tax credit to delivering another round of direct assistance to struggling Americans.

A picture is worth 1,000 words and all that.

I've done my best to label every state/territory, which obviously isn't easy to do for most of them given how tangled it gets in the middle. For cases per capita, the most obvious point is that New York and New Jersey, which towered over every other state last spring, are now utterly dwarfed by North & South Dakota, although things are getting pretty horrible everywhere now.

1 out of every 8 residents of North & South Dakota's entire populations have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past year.

Rhode Island is up to 1 out of every 9 residents.

Utah, Tennessee, Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas are up to 1 out of every 10 residents.

41 states have seen at least 1 out of every 15 residents test positive.

EVERY state except New Hampshire, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Hawaii & Vermont (along with 4 U.S. territories) have now surpassed 1 out of every 20 residents having tested positive.

The new Pennsylvania ACA exchange, Pennie, just issued their final official 2021 Open Enrollment report and (as expected) is also joining most other states in re-opening for a COVID-19 Enrollment Period:

Press Release – Pennie Exceeds Expectations & Extends Enrollment for COVID-19

  • As a state-based marketplace, Pennie increases new enrollment by 9.7% and raises total enrollment to nearly 338,000. Now, Pennie is offering more time to enroll in plans for those affected by COVID-19.
  • Pennsylvanians who have recently lost health coverage or have been affected by COVID-19 can visit pennie.com and enroll in a plan from February 15 through May 15.

A picture is worth 1,000 words and all that.

I've done my best to label every state/territory, which obviously isn't easy to do for most of them given how tangled it gets in the middle. For cases per capita, the most obvious point is that New York and New Jersey, which towered over every other state last spring, are now utterly dwarfed by North & South Dakota, although things are getting pretty horrible everywhere now.

North Dakota has reached 12.8% of the entire population having tested positive, or over 1 out of every 8 residents.

South Dakota is up to 12.2%, or more than 1 out of every 9 residents.

Rhode Island, Utah, Tennessee, Arizona and Iowa are up to 1 out of every 10 residents having tested positive.

40 states have seen at least 1 out of every 15 residents test positive.

EVERY state except New Hampshire, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Hawaii & Vermont (along with 4 U.S. territories) have now surpassed 1 out of every 20 residents having tested positive.

via the Nevada Health Link...

Today, the Biden‐Harris Administration announced a Special Enrollment Period, allowing Americans to enroll and purchase on‐Exchange health insurance plans from their respective on‐Exchange marketplaces. On behalf of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange and Nevadans statewide, we are pleased to see positive change taking place at the federal level and to witness the fast‐moving actions to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA), upon which so many Americans rely for quality, affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage.

This news comes on the heels of our announcement that nearly 82,000 Nevadans enrolled on Nevada Health Link for coverage in 2021. That’s nearly a six percent increase from last year’s enrollment total.

Today’s news from the White House speaks volumes about how the new Administration will continue to support the ACA and help to bolster the health insurance marketplace, protecting hundreds of millions of Americans.

...Annnnd add Get Covered NJ to the list:

Governor Murphy Announces Extension of Affordable Care Act Enrollment Period for Uninsured In New Jersey In Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

  • New Jersey Joins Biden Administration in Effort to Assist Residents Through Special Enrollment Period

TRENTON – Following the Biden Administration’s health care action today, Governor Phil Murphy announced the State is extending the health insurance enrollment period for uninsured residents to sign up for coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) announced today it will open a special enrollment period that parallels the new federal enrollment period which runs from Feb. 15 through May 15, 2021.

“Having health insurance is critically important in these challenging times of COVID,” said Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “Opening a corresponding special enrollment period in our state gives more uninsured Washingtonians the chance to get needed coverage for 2021.”

The special enrollment period will apply to anyone seeking health insurance coverage. Individuals shopping for coverage during this special enrollment period that select coverage by the 15th of the month will begin receiving coverage the first of the following month.

This was probably inevitable: via Connect for Health Colorado (email):

Colorado to Re-Open Enrollment for Individual Health Insurance 

DENVER – Today, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order that re-opens enrollment on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. While the order pertains to states that use the federal exchange, HC.gov, Colorado’s exchange, Connect for Health Colorado will mirror the order by re-opening enrollment.

Coloradans without health insurance will be able to enroll in coverage through C4HCO.com between Feb. 8 - May 15, 2021. Health insurance coverage will begin on the first day of the month following plan selection. This Special Enrollment period is for people who are without health insurance and begins a week earlier than the federal exchange.

The wording of this is important: This SEP is for uninsured residents specifically; presumably it is not open to those who are simply looking to switch from one ACA policy to another. My guess is there will be a checkbox or whatever for enrollees to attest that they do not currently have health insurance coverage.

As I noted earlier today, the Big News® this today is President Biden's pending Executive Order to re-open HealthCare.Gov to a full 3-month COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period starting on February 15th. There's a whole bunch of other important stuff in today's healthcare XO, but some of them will take months to actually finalize and implement.

Frankly, re-opening HC.gov is actually one of the simplest and most obvious healthcare-related executive orders Biden could give at the moment. Now that the starting/ending dates are known, it raises one other important question.

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