WASHINGTON, D.C. – In Case You Missed It, Families USA -- a nonpartisan healthcare advocacy organization – released a report yesterday that showed a record number of Americans have lost healthcare coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. 5.4 million Americans have lost healthcare coverage during the pandemic, an annual increase in uninsured Americans that is 39 percent higher than any increase ever recorded. The report found that this is the single largest loss of healthcare coverage ever. A separate Kaiser Family Foundation Report estimates that more than 1 million Ohioans have lost coverage since the start of the pandemic.

  • Read the report HERE.

A huge uptick in uninsured Americans comes as the Trump Administration and GOP governors are working to kick Ohioans off their healthcare in the middle of the pandemic, including Ohioans with pre-existing conditions. Last month, 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.

“Ensuring Americans have access to healthcare coverage during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic should be a top priority for any responsible elected official. Instead, President Trump and the GOP are actively working to kick families off of their health insurance and roll back pre-existing condition protections, as we’re seeing record numbers of Ohioans losing their jobs and their health insurance at the same time. President Trump’s efforts are nothing short of morally bankrupt, and I’ll continue fighting to make it easier, not harder, for Ohioans to have access to the healthcare coverage they need.”

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 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, support COBRA premium support for individuals who want to stay on their employer sponsored health care, 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. President Trump and his Administration have refused to provide Americans with the opportunity to sign-up for health insurance during this pandemic, despite their authority to do so.

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.

 

###