Warren calls on HHS to provide access to voter registration services through health insurance applications
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is calling on the Biden administration to provide access to voter registration services through healthcare.gov, where Americans can apply for health insurance through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Warren urged HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to make changes to healthcare.gov that could lead to millions of Americans registering to vote, especially those living below the federal poverty level, according to a letter first obtained by The Hill.
She pointed to President Biden’s executive order on promoting access to voting that came out in March 2021 and a recent update from the administration that all agencies, including HHS, said they were making progress on enhancing access to voter registration.
“But HHS can do more to fulfill its commitments under the President’s Voting EO. In particular, it should expeditiously implement changes to HealthCare.gov to facilitate access to voter registration services for millions of Americans,” she said in the letter.
Nearly 8.4 million people actively applied for health insurance through healthcare.gov and about 73 percent of consumers enrolled in a marketplace plan live at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data Warren cited.
“Despite record voter turnout during the 2020 election, low-income voters still voted at lower rates than higher earners, and difficulty with voter registration is the most significant barrier to voting for low-income Americans and communities of color. HHS interacts with these communities every year through HealthCare.gov and can and should offer its users the opportunity to register to vote,” the senator said.
She asked Becerra to send a detailed report of HHS’s progress on implementing voter registration access through healthcare.gov by July 12.
“Too many Americans still face substantial barriers when registering to vote,” Warren said in a statement to The Hill. “That’s why it’s important for the Department to follow through on its commitments to make it easier for HealthCare.gov users to access voter registration and election information in the same place they access their health insurance.”
Biden’s March 2021 executive order on increasing access to voting directed an all-of-government effort to promote information about the voting process and to further the ability of all eligible Americans to vote.