Attorney General Ellison urges Trump Administration to follow Minnesota's lead in opening up special ACA enrollment during COVID-19 pandemic
While special enrollment for MNsure is open, opening it for Americans in 38 other states is ‘literally a matter of life and death’ for them
April 6, 2020
April 4, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has asked the Trump Administration to follow Minnesota’s lead in opening up a special enrollment period on HealthCare.Gov so that more Americans can have access to affordable health care under the Affordable Care Act during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Ellison joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), urging them to reconsider their shortsighted decision to deny a special enrollment period during the current worldwide pandemic.
“I urge the Administration in the strongest possible terms to follow Minnesota’s lead by opening up special enrollment to millions of other uninsured Americans who need it: millions who’s been laid off in the crisis that lost their employer-based coverage, millions of Americans who are hourly workers helping us through the crisis that don’t have coverage in the first place. They must be able to afford their lives and afford to live,” Attorney General Ellison said.
“I signed this letter because Minnesotans care about all Americans. The Trump Administration must meet its moral obligation to open a special enrollment period so that uninsured Americans can enroll for affordable health care during this pandemic just as uninsured Minnesotans already can. It is literally a matter of life or death,” Attorney General Ellison added.
On March 20, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a 30-day special enrollment period on MNsure to increase access to health care for qualified uninsured individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The special enrollment period runs through April 21.
Minnesota is one of only 12 states that run their own health care exchanges. Thirty-eight other states rely on the federal government to run their exchanges for their residents.
In the letter, Attorney General Ellison and the coalition point out that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of individuals have lost their jobs — and with their jobs, their ability to pay for healthcare. Many people may be prevented from obtaining treatment for COVID-19 because they lack healthcare coverage or face financial ruin if they seek care. In addition, people working on the front lines in grocery stores, food service, transportation, and sanitation during the pandemic often lack health insurance and work jobs that do not provide sick leave. Because they are uninsured, they are less likely to have a regular place to obtain healthcare and are more likely to delay obtaining care due to fears of the cost.
The Trump Administration has long touted choice and “informed healthcare decisions” as the bedrock of its healthcare policies, but now refuses to give Americans the option of obtaining comprehensive healthcare coverage to combat this unprecedented healthcare care crisis.
In signing the letter, Attorney General Ellison joined California General Xavier Becerra and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, who co-led the letter, and the attorneys Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
A copy of the letter is available on the website of California Attorney General Becerra.