(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in response to a new report showing that 5.4 million people who lost their jobs lost health care coverage this year from February to May.
“Over the first few months of this pandemic, over 5 million people lost their health insurance. So what did the Trump Administration do last month? It filed a brief supporting a lawsuit that could strip away health care from four times as many people in the months to come.
“It’s painfully clear we need a serious health care plan built around solutions meant to actually help people get the care they need, not partisan attacks meant to take it away at all costs. Democrats have been urging Republicans for months to do the right thing and work with us to increase access to quality, affordable health care and coverage by incentivizing Medicaid expansion, offering a nationwide Special Enrollment Period, and more. Taking steps like these to help people get access to health care during a pandemic shouldn’t be controversial, it should be commonsense and we should be doing it right now instead of waiting for things get even worse.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to keeping Americans covered, so far this Administration has failed to even wield the tools it already has effectively—except for when wielding them for sabotage.”
Senator Murray and her Democratic colleagues have urged Republicans to work with them to take action to expand access to quality, affordable health care. After passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, Senator Murray and other Democratic health leaders issued a statement calling for the next response package to:
- Eliminate out-of-pocket costs for all medical care related to COVID-19;
- Increase health care tax credits to lower health insurance premiums;
- Provide financial assistance to help workers who are laid off, furloughed, or experience reduced hours maintain their job-based coverage through COBRA;
- Increase the number of Americans eligible for health care tax credits;
- Open a special enrollment period nationally so people who need health coverage can sign up on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges; and
- Incentivize the remaining states to expand Medicaid by increasing the federal share of the cost.
Senator Murray and her colleagues have also urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to open a nationwide Special Enrollment Period and to help make sure those who lose their job are aware they are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to access to quality affordable coverage. They criticized CMS after new data showed fewer people accessing special enrollment periods during the COVID-19 pandemic than expected.