Marisa Peryer

Joining several other companies and organizations in their efforts to minimize the impact of the partial federal shutdown on Connecticut residents, Yale New Haven Health System pledged to postpone outstanding bills and waive several fees for furloughed federal workers on Thursday.

Government employees who show their federal IDs as they seek emergency treatment at the system’s emergency departments, urgent care or walk-in centers will have their co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance waived, according to a Jan. 24 press release by Yale New Haven Health System. If requested, the health system will put any outstanding bills on hold for furloughed workers affected by the shutdown. The policy also applies to the partners, spouses and dependents of government employees, and will remain in effect for 30 days after the shutdown ends.

“The government shutdown is causing extreme hardship for many,” said Vincent Tammaro, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Yale New Haven Health System in the press release. “We hope that this small measure will help patients continue to seek necessary medical care without having to choose between their health and putting food on the table.”

The Yale New Haven Health System is Connecticut’s largest and most comprehensive health care system. The network includes five hospitals — Yale New Haven, Bridgeport, Greenwich, Westerly and Lawrence + Memorial.

The press release noted that the waiver policy also applies to co-payments and deductibles for physician services at Northeast Medical Group, a community-based practice staffed by the network’s physicians.

The policy is the latest in a series of measures in both the public and private sectors to help employees poised to miss their second paycheck.

Newly elected Gov. Ned Lamont SOM ’80 signed his first bill into law on Tuesday, which allows furloughed workers and workers working without pay to access no-interest loans through state banks and credit unions for the duration of the shutdown. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support, garnering overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly.

“Within the limits of state authority, it is imperative we do all we can for these federal workers who are being victimized by President Trump’s extreme and irrational policy,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, in a statement on Jan. 18.

Private businesses have also stepped up, with banks like Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America offering to delay payments and to set up special hotlines to provide counsel to those in financial difficulties because of the shutdown.

Both parties in Congress offered a brief glimmer of hope earlier this week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, scheduled votes for Thursday on bills to end the shutdown. The Democratic bill promised to fund the government through Feb. 8, and the Republican bill procured funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall proposal, which he has demanded as part of any budget deal.

Both plans, however, failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass. Trump’s plan failed by a margin of 50–47, while the Democratic measure had a margin of 52–44, with six Republican senators breaking party lines.

Until the shutdown is over, Trump will not deliver his State of the Union address, which was scheduled for next Tuesday. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, refused to introduce a concurrent resolution that would allow the president to address a joint session of Congress.

“As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative — I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”

To request a hold on an outstanding bill, qualified individuals must speak to a representative. According to the press release, patients with bills from Yale New Haven, Bridgeport, Greenwich, Westerly or Lawrence + Memorial hospitals should call 855-547-4584 and press zero. Those with bills from Northeast Medical Group should call 833-288-4400 and then press four.

The shutdown enters its 35th day Friday.

Marisa Peryer | marisa.peryer@yale.edu

Nathalie Bussemaker | nathalie.bussemaker@yale.edu