Democratic Health Leaders Call on Trump Administration to Help Struggling Americans and Create Special Health Care Enrollment Period

Apr 3, 2020
Press Release
Initial reports show uninsured Americans are facing medical bills upwards of $35,000 for COVID-19 treatment

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House and Senate Democratic health leaders strongly urged the Trump Administration to put American families first and establish a general Special Enrollment Period (SEP) so that people affected by the coronavirus pandemic can sign up for health coverage. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), along with Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent the letter to Vice President Pence, head of the Coronavirus Task Force, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.

“It is critical that the federal government use every tool at its disposal to avoid putting Americans’ lives and financial security needlessly at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote the lawmakers. “The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Marketplaces and associated financial assistance can serve a critical role in protecting people who need health coverage — now is the time to set aside this Administration’s longstanding attacks on the ACA and put American families’ needs first.”

The lawmakers continued: “The decision not to establish an SEP creates the potential for additional financial stress on American families and jeopardizes the health of our communities. We strongly urge the Coronavirus Taskforce and HHS to reverse its decision regarding the SEP and allow Americans struggling during the coronavirus epidemic to have an opportunity to sign up for health coverage, which is key to protecting their health and the health of their communities.”

Full text of the letter is available HERE.