Washington, DC — The Trump administration continues to refuse to re-open enrollment for uninsured Americans in the federal ACA marketplace. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Once again, the Trump administration has shown it doesn’t care about health care in America. President Trump’s failure to prepare for the coronavirus crisis has meant more Americans are getting sick and more Americans are losing their jobs. At a time when millions of uninsured people are facing the possibility of coronavirus and devastating health care bills, President Trump still refuses to let them buy affordable coverage through the ACA marketplace. No wonder the American people don’t trust this administration on health care. Thank goodness Democrats in Congress continue to try and force the administration to do the right thing by calling on them to re-open the exchanges and passing legislation condemning President Trump’s disastrous lawsuit that would take away coverage from 20 million Americans who have insurance today.”

BACKGROUND:

New York Times: Obamacare Markets Will Not Reopen, Trump Decides. “The Trump administration has decided against reopening the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.gov marketplaces to new customers, despite broad layoffs and growing fears that people will be uninsured during the coronavirus outbreak. The option to reopen markets, in what is known as a special enrollment period, would have made it easier for people who have recently lost jobs or who had already been uninsured to obtain health insurance.” [New York Times, 4/1/20

New York Times: The Administration “Divided” On Special Enrollment Period “Given The President’s Support For The Lawsuit That Would Overturn The Law.” “Insurers, which had been arguing in favor of the enrollment period, had been hopeful just a few days ago that the White House might announce such a step. But the situation suddenly became ‘fluid,’ in the description of one executive. Another described the administration as divided about whether to proceed, especially given the president’s support for the lawsuit that would overturn the law.” [New York Times, 4/1/20

Politico: White House Sources Said Trump’s Decision To Reject Special Enrollment “Was Ultimately Made To Avoid Muddling The Administration’s Position On The Affordable Care Act As Trump Urges The Supreme Court To Throw Out The Law.” “Despite Trump’s decision on Obamacare, people who lost their workplace health insurance amid a record surge in employment are still likely eligible for coverage through a special enrollment period for people experiencing certain life circumstances. But millions of more uninsured Americans who don’t qualify for a special allowance will remain shut out from the marketplaces until they reopen in the fall. Sources familiar with discussions between insurers and the administration believe Trump’s decision was ultimately made to avoid muddling the administration’s position on the Affordable Care Act as Trump urges the Supreme Court to throw out the law.” [Politico, 4/1/20

Vox: Decision To Reject Open Enrollment Period “Follows A Long-Established Pattern By The Administration To Weaken And Discourage Enrollees To The ACA At Nearly Every Turn Possible.” “The decision follows a long-established pattern by the administration to weaken and discourage enrollees to the ACA at nearly every turn possible. Administration officials also signaled Monday that they would be proceeding with supporting a federal lawsuit scheduled for oral arguments this fall at the Supreme Court which could potentially end the ACA altogether. That would result in millions of people getting thrown off their ACA health insurance plans.” [Vox, 4/1/20

Vox: People Who Reside In States That Rejected Medicaid Expansion “Will Be Hurt The Most By The Trump Administration’s Decision Not To Reopen The ACA Marketplace.” “It’s those folks, who were already uninsured before getting laid off and aren’t eligible for Medicaid, who will be hurt the most by the Trump administration’s decision not to reopen the ACA marketplace. That’s why New York, California, and other states have decided to do so in their own marketplaces.” [Vox, 4/1/20

Vanity Fair: Decision To Reject Special Enrollment Period Comes As “Republican-Led States And The Trump Administration Have Resolved To Keep Moving Forward WIth Their Lawsuit TO Kill The ACA Despite The Coronavirus.” “The Trump administration’s refusal to allow more Americans to easily sign up for ACA insurance isn’t the GOP’s only attack on the health care program in the midst of the global pandemic, as Republican-led states and the Trump administration have resolved to keep moving forward with their lawsuit to kill the ACA despite the coronavirus.” [Vanity Fair, 4/2/20

Salon: Trump Refuses To Reopen Obamacare Exchanges After Millions Of Laid-Off Workers Lose Health Coverage. “The Trump administration has refused to reopen Obamacare exchanges to allow millions of laid-off workers get health insurance, even though the White House estimated that hundreds of thousands of Americans will die as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” [Salon, 4/1/20

Forbes: “The Trump Administration Has Decided Against Opening Up A Special Enrollment Period..Instead Doubling Down On His Support Of A Lawsuit By Republican States Aimed At Killing The Entire Affordable Care Act.” “The Trump administration has decided against opening up a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, instead doubling down on his support of a lawsuit by Republican states aimed at killing the entire Affordable Care Act…It would seem the move by the Trump Administration to not open a special ACA enrollment period is just one in a series of steps the administration has taken to kill the program, even as America reels under the poorly planned for COVID-19 pandemic.” [Forbes, 3/1/20

Politico: Trump’s Decision To Reject Special Enrollment Period Comes After He “Doubled Down On His Support Of A Lawsuit By Republican States That Could Destroy The Entire Affordable Care Act.” “Trump confirmed last week he was seriously considering a special enrollment period, but he also doubled down on his support of a lawsuit by Republican states that could destroy the entire Affordable Care Act, along with coverage for the 20 million people insured through the law.” [Politico, 3/31/20

BuzzFeed News: Donald Trump Won’t Open The Obamacare Markets During The Coronavirus Outbreak. “The Trump administration will not open up Obamacare enrollment, denying millions of people the chance to buy health insurance during the coronavirus outbreak…The Trump administration has taken a cold view of administering the Obamacare markets since day one. It has backed the Republican push to repeal the ACA that failed in Congress and taken various steps to weaken the marketplaces, such as shortening enrollment periods and opening up competition from unregulated plans that are cheaper but pay out far lower benefits. Most importantly, the administration is breaking with the convention of defending established law and backing a legal fight to have the entire ACA thrown out as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case this year.” [BuzzFeed News, 4/1/20]