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Bicameral Democratic Health Leaders Condemn Trump Refusal to Reopen Enrollment on the Marketplaces

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Senate HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a joint statement today condemning President Trump’s decision not to establish a special Affordable Care Act open enrollment period in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“President Trump’s refusal to give millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans the opportunity to sign up for comprehensive health coverage in the midst of a global pandemic will have dire consequences for people across this country. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to climb, the federal government should be using every tool at its disposal to avoid putting American lives needlessly at risk.

“Instead, the president’s actions will force a growing number of families to choose between seeking care for a potentially life-threatening illness and sacrificing their financial security. Although the ACA establishes an automatic special enrollment period for people who lose coverage through their job, millions of Americans remain uninsured or underinsured and should be able to sign up for comprehensive coverage. A special enrollment period would also offer protection to patients enrolled in ‘junk’ short-term plans, which are not required to cover the essential health benefits or protect patients with pre-existing conditions. During a time of health and economic insecurity, the Trump administration is refusing to help struggling families access affordable health care in the middle of a global pandemic.

“This is another example of this administration’s failure to implement an urgent, coherent, and effective strategy to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19.  The Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces can serve a critical role in helping people access the care they need.  Now is the time for this administration to set aside its politically motivated attacks on the Affordable Care Act and put the needs of American families first.”

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