Health care leaders slam Trump’s refusal to re-open ACA enrollment during coronavirus outbreak

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Health care leaders and experts blast Trump administration’s decision to limit Americans’ access to health care in the middle of a global pandemic, putting the health and safety of countless families at risk

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Even in the middle of a global pandemic — with America leading the world in coronavirus cases — the Trump Administration is refusing to re-open the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace’s enrollment period, preventing Americans without health care coverage from getting it when they may need it most.

This is yet another failure by the Trump Administration to act in this crisis and it’s jeopardizing Americans’ access to health insurance in the midst of a global pandemic — despite pleas from a bipartisan coalition of leaders, including the Republican Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, to do so.

It’s alarming that in this moment, after Trump disregarded so many warnings about the coronavirus outbreak and downplayed the threat while dithering on preparing our nation for it, that he is continuing to put partisanship and ideology above Americans’ access to health care — no matter the cost to innocent people.

Vice President Biden has called on the Trump administration to immediately re-open Obamacare enrollment to ensure that Americans who need access to health care get it in the middle of this crisis, and previously called on Trump and Republican state attorneys general to drop their lawsuit that would roll back the ACA.

In response to President Trump’s shameful decision, the following health care leaders released statements:

“We’re in the middle of the biggest public health emergency in a century and America now has more confirmed cases than any other country in the world — it is absolutely vital that we do everything in our power to get Americans access to health care — this decision does just the opposite.” said Dr. Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General. “Without access to health care, people can't get tested and can't get the care they need if they get sick. That puts all of us at greater risk.”

“At every step of his presidency, Donald Trump has tried to roll back the progress we made with Obamacare and kick millions of Americans off their health insurance and to double down on these efforts in the middle of a global pandemic is absolutely shameful. When people need coverage in a crisis, they should have the opportunity to buy it. This cruel decision will mean that more health care providers don’t get paid, might further threaten community hospitals with more unpaid bills and might discourage people from seeking treatment,” said Kathleen Sebelius, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “The Affordable Care Act was a landmark achievement by the Obama-Biden administration that helped 20 million people get health insurance and ensured peace of mind for tens of millions more people with pre-existing conditions — that is something we need to build on and expand in a moment like this, not demolish in the middle of a pandemic as Trump is seeking to do.”

"It’s unconscionable that the President is making it harder for Americans to access vital health coverage in the middle of a public health emergency,” said Dr. Raul Ruiz, an emergency physician and member of Congress. “Hard working families are struggling to make ends meet and many of them are out of work. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can afford health care in this moment of crisis.”

“African Americans are going to be badly hit by the coronavirus because of years of neglected investment in our health and well-being, and we need to use every tool at our disposal to make sure that my community — and every community in America — has access to the health care that they need as we weather this storm,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass, a former Physician Assistant. “Trump and his administration are putting lives at risk with this decision — it’s absolutely disgraceful and needs to be reversed immediately.”

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