Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration has decided not to reopen enrollment to uninsured Americans for the Affordable Care Act's 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

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 39 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.

51 mins ago - Science

The risk of branding NASA's wins

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Trump, like some of his predecessors, is branding NASA's recent wins as political, presidential accomplishments even though they are the result of efforts that span administrations.

Why it matters: Experts warn that partisan politicking with NASA can lead to whiplash that leaves the agency scrambling to chase new goals whenever a new administration arrives in Washington.