DailyBeast reports former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden demanded that the Trump administration reopen enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges, as millions of Americans—many of them newly unemployed—face the prospect of enduring the coronavirus pandemic without access to healthcare.
“During this outbreak, when health care coverage is more important than ever, Donald Trump is refusing to give those who have been uninsured access to the best resource we have: the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces,” Biden said in an exclusive statement to The Daily Beast, in which he called it “critical” that Trump reverse his opposition to reopening the Healthcare.gov federal health care exchange for a special enrollment period.
“This is no time to put pettiness and ideology above helping those who are in the greatest need,” Biden said, calling the spread of the novel coronavirus “the worst public health crisis in generations”—one for which the president failed to prepare the nation, “despite warning after warning.”
Biden’s statement reflects the fervent desire among many Democrats to make health insurance expansion a policy priority as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country and dislodges millions of people from their workplaces. Trump has faced mounting pressure to allow for a special enrollment period so that individuals who don’t have insurance can purchase it.
Last week, Trump told reporters that reopening the exchanges in light of the unique and dire circumstances was “something we’re talking to a lot of people about.” By this week, however, the administration had rejected the idea, dumbfounding health officials, insurers, and various others who’d hoped they would, or expected them to do so.
In meetings at the White House in the time between his stated consideration and his announced rejection of the idea, Trump on multiple occasions had referred to Obamacare as “a failure,” and questioned why the administration should bother helping to prop it up, according to a source with direct knowledge of his private remarks.
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