On the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic lawmakers and other proponents of the law called on the Trump administration to create a national special enrollment period to allow uninsured people to sign up for health insurance, as many states have already done.
The Trump administration should reopen enrollment so that more people can get health coverage during the coronavirus pandemic, several Democrats said during a conference call hosted by Protect Our Care, an advocacy group founded to defend the ACA. Many experts worry that uninsured people will be reluctant or unable to access care during the outbreak, which could make it more severe.
"As we consider a robust public health response, we have to include extending coverage," said U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood, a democrat from Illinois.
Democrats also took aim at President Donald Trump, asking him to withdraw his support for a lawsuit that could cause millions of people to lose coverage if the U.S. Supreme Court throws out the Affordable Care Act this fall.
"The president could take away that worry by . . . indicating his opposition to the lawsuit, and he could do that today if he wanted to," Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said.
Medicaid expansion under the ACA has extended coverage to millions of people, but many Republican-led states have yet to expand their Medicaid programs, despite significant federal investment. The legislative tactics of Republican state lawmakers to block expansion drew ire from Kathleen Sebelius, former HHS Secretary under President Obama.
"It is immoral, and it's one of the dumbest economic policies I've ever seen in my life," Sebelius said. "We have people every day who cannot afford healthcare because they're too poor to qualify for any kind of benefit. It's a terrible disservice."
In recent days, several states reopened their healthcare exchanges to increase coverage during the pandemic, including hard-hit states like New York and Washington.
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