Pelosi urges Trump to expand ObamaCare enrollment period amid coronavirus
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday called on President Trump to expand the period for people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act after officials this week opted against reopening enrollment amid the coronavirus outbreak.
During an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Pelosi said that Americans who currently lack health coverage because of the 2017 GOP tax law that repealed the requirement for everyone to buy insurance or who couldn’t afford it should have the chance to sign up for new plans now in the middle of a pandemic.
“It’s really so sad that the president would not extend the enrollment period,” Pelosi said. “We should have an open enrollment to give people another chance to sign up in light of the coronavirus crisis that we have.”
Trump and other White House officials had initially indicated last week that they were considering a relaunch of HealthCare.gov. But the White House confirmed this week that the administration decided against a special enrollment period and was reviewing other options.
The open enrollment period for 2020 coverage ended in mid-December.
People can still sign up for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act — also known as ObamaCare — if they have recently lost their employer-sponsored health plans. They also have the option of staying on the plans offered through their former employers through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), but it tends to be very expensive.
Trump indicated at a press briefing Wednesday that he was reviewing options for how people could sign up for health coverage if they don’t meet the income standards to qualify for Medicaid, but he declined to offer specifics.
“I think it’s a very fair question though, and it’s something we’re really going to look at because it doesn’t seem fair,” Trump said.
At the same time, Trump has stood by his support for a lawsuit brought by GOP-led states before the Supreme Court that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act and invalidate coverage for about 20 million people.
Pelosi called on Trump to withdraw his support for the lawsuit.
“He should be saying no to his case before the Supreme Court, which is very, very harmful in normal times and in these extraordinary times, very destructive,” Pelosi said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, also called on Trump to allow a special enrollment period during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The president must change course and allow open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said in a statement Thursday.