Apr 2, 2020 - Health

Trump admin won't reopen ACA enrollment for uninsured amid outbreak

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration has decided not to reopen enrollment to uninsured Americans for the Affordable Care Act's Healthcare.gov marketplaces, an official confirmed to Axios Wednesday.

Driving the news: President Trump said last week he was considering the move in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, notes Politico, which first reported the news.

By the numbers: Nearly 28 million Americans remain uninsured, despite the insurance gains made under the Affordable Care Act, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.

The big picture: The Kaiser Family Foundation's Jen Kates told Owens uninsured people are more likely to rely on the emergency room and can overburden ERs during a pandemic, increasing the risk of exposure for uninfected patients waiting to receive care.

  • Millions of people have filed for unemployment amid the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown, and many of them will end up on Medicaid, notes Axios' Bob Herman.
  • "The program will pick up many people who lost their income and their health insurance together, as well as people who lost jobs that didn't provide health insurance, and potentially some people who are still working and need medical care but aren't insured," Herman said.

Between the lines: It is understood that administration officials decided against reopening enrollment because those who lose their jobs qualify for help under existing programs.

What they're saying: A senior administration official told Axios President Trump is committed to ensuring Americans have a broad variety of health insurance coverage options available to them, "especially during this time of economic disruption."

  • "Americans should know that if they are temporarily unemployed, there are coverage options available to them, including COBRA and the individual Exchange, where individuals experiencing a qualifying event such as a job loss can enroll for coverage," the official said.
  • "The President is also very committed to supporting the uninsured who think they may have the COVID-19 virus. With the support of the Congress, President Trump is implementing a program to cover the costs of evaluating and testing those who think they may have the virus."

Of note: The Supreme Court is due to hear later this year a major case against the Affordable Care Act that's supported by the Trump administration, which argues that the entire ACA should be struck down.

Go deeper: The coronavirus is exposing the holes in employer health insurance

Go deeper

17 hours ago - Health

Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response

Protesters in Philadelphia on June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Protests against police brutality have prompted the closure of coronavirus test sites across the country, including in Pennsylvania, Florida, California and Illinois, Politico reports.

Why it matters: This adds to concerns that the protests themselves create an environment in which the virus can easily spread, particularly if and when protesters aren't wearing masks or social distancing.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 6,377,596 — Total deaths: 380,180 — Total recoveries — 2,728,363Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,831,806 — Total deaths: 106,180 — Total recoveries: 463,868 — Total tested: 17,757,838Map.
  3. 2020: N.C. governor says GOP should plan for a "scaled-down convention."
  4. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response — Controlling the virus in nursing homes won't be easy.
  5. Business: More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  6. Tech: Zoom revenues and profit soar as pandemic propels videoconferencing.
19 hours ago - Health

Controlling the coronavirus in nursing homes won't be easy

Data: FREOPP.org; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The structural issues that have plagued U.S. nursing homes for years will make it difficult for them to prevent coronavirus infections and deaths, even though we now understand the high-risk nature of the facilities.

Driving the news: Within the 80% of nursing homes that have reported coronavirus data to the federal government, nearly 26,000 residents died, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced yesterday.