(The Center Square) – Twelve governors, including Maine Gov. Janet Mills, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma on Monday asking them to open up a 30-day enrollment period through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.
“Too many of our constituents are uninsured or underinsured despite the steps we’ve taken at the state level,” the governors wrote. “As a result, far too many of our residents are choosing to forgo coronavirus testing and treatment out of fear of the potential costs to themselves and their families. It is essential that we remove every barrier as quickly as possible to ensure those in our states and across the country are able to access the treatment they need.”
The letter follows one Mills sent to the Maine legislative delegation in March asking them to appeal to the Trump administration to open up the special enrollment period.
Maine remains under a stay-at-home order until April 30. Mills postponed the June 9 elections to July 14.
“This postponement will provide Maine people with more time to request an absentee ballot and will allow the Secretary of State’s Office to work with municipalities to ensure that in-person voting can be done in as safe a way as possible,” Mills said in a statement. “I recognize the ramifications this has both for voters and those running for office this year, and I appreciate their flexibility as we work to protect our elections and the health of our people.”
Absentee ballots can be submitted up until the time the polls close on July 14. Anyone who requested an absentee ballot before the date change can still use that ballot during the July 14 election.
Maine health officials are focusing on long-term care facilities as 48 of the state’s 65 new COVID-19 positive cases reported on Monday are from those facilities.
“We saw the signs early on,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention about the challenge of long-term care facilities. “We started our outreach to long-term care facilities over a month ago.”
Health officials are redistributing material again and can offer some technical assistance, said Jeanne M. Lambrew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The number of new cases reported Monday brings the state’s total number to 698. Nineteen people have died.