The Trump administration has decided not to reopen the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.gov marketplaces to new customers, despite layoffs and growing fears that people will be uninsured during the coronavirus outbreak.
What We Know:
- According to the New York Times, 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. The administration has established such special enrollment periods in the past, typically in the wake of natural disasters.
- The administration has been considering this action for several weeks now. But according to a White House official, those discussions are now over. The news of the decision was previously reported by Politico.
- This decision will not prevent Americans who’ve recently lost their jobs from obtaining health care. Under current law, people who lose job-based insurance already qualify to enroll for health insurance on the marketplaces, but are required to provide proof that they lost their coverage. A special enrollment period would have made it easier for such people to enroll because it would not require that paperwork. It also would have provided a new option for people who chose not to buy health insurance this year but want it now.
- The administration continues to run the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and it has taken numerous steps to weaken them. President Trump continues to call for the health law’s elimination and replacement.
- “What we want to do is get rid of the bad health care and put in a great health care,” he said in response to a question on March 22 about the lawsuit.
- Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey recommended that Congress include a special enrollment provision in its next round of coronavirus legislation. He had also proposed such language be included in the last bill. “At a time when our health care system is already under enormous strain, it makes no sense to willingly allow even more individuals to go without coverage,” he said.
Even though the White House official described the matter as decided, officials have the capability to establish a special enrollment period at any time.