CLEVELAND, OH – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) slammed President Trump’s efforts to kick Ohioans off their healthcare in the middle of the pandemic, including Ohioans with pre-existing conditions. Late yesterday, the Trump Administration filed a brief in support of invalidating the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA), which reports estimate would leave more than 23 million Americans without health insurance in the middle of a pandemic.
“There is absolutely no excuse for President Trump -- in the middle of a pandemic -- to actively work to kick Americans off of their health insurance and invalidate pre-existing conditions protections. The President’s actions are nothing short of morally bankrupt,” said Brown. “I stand with working Ohioans across the state in condemning this lawsuit and will continue fighting for quality healthcare coverage for all Ohioans.”
According to a recent report for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nearly 500,000 Americans signed up for health insurance through the ACA in April and May after losing their insurance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, Brown and Sens. Warner (D-VA), Jones (D-AL), Durbin (D-IL) and Shaheen (D-NH) led 34 of their Senate colleagues in urging House and Senate leaders to ensure that any upcoming COVID-19 relief bill will include strong provisions to expand access to quality and affordable health care coverage in the wake of this public health crisis. In their letter, the Senators called for a bipartisan effort to increase the federal government’s share of Medicaid dollars as well as reduce premiums for individuals who are eligible for coverage in the ACA exchanges.
Brown also joined a letter with Senate Democrats to urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reopen the ACA’s online marketplace to allow more un- and under-insured Americans to get health insurance as they face potential health issues related to COVID-19. In a letter to Secretary Alex Azar, the senators urged HHS to allow Americans to enroll through a unique Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that should last throughout the duration of the pandemic in an effort to ensure comprehensive coverage for families and communities to protect themselves from COVID-related illness.
In April, Brown blasted the Trump Administration’s efforts to repeal, sabotage, or undermine healthcare coverage provided by the ACA, by refusing to reopen enrollment for the ACA’s federal exchanges amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision not to reopen HealthCare.gov is a severe blow to Americans in about two-thirds of states that don’t run their own exchanges and instead use the federal exchange to access HealthCare.gov, like Ohio.
While costs and treatments vary, a recent report by FAIR Health found that uninsured Americans with COVID-19 could pay an estimated average of $73,300 for a 6-day hospital stay, which is about ten times more than someone with health insurance. This past year, despite the fact that the Trump Administration shortened the enrollment period and reduced public outreach, 8.3 million people still purchased or re-enrolled in ACA health plans using the HealthCare.gov platform during the 2020 open enrollment period, which the Trump Administration closed on December 15, 2019.
Today, nearly 28 million Americans still lack health insurance. And the Trump-backed lawsuit to tear down the entire ACA continues to go forward in the midst of the pandemic.