Democratic Health Leaders: New Data Suggests Trump Administration Failing to Protect Uninsured and Underinsured Americans
After ignoring numerous calls from bicameral Democratic health committee leaders to create a broad special enrollment period and release data on health care enrollment trends, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finally released limited data yesterday. In response, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), House Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby“ Scott (D-VA), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and Senate Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued the following statement:
“As congressional health leaders, we have been asking for this data since early April. The data provided shows far fewer Americans accessing special enrollment periods during the coronavirus pandemic than anticipated. In a related briefing, senior CMS officials were unable to provide clear answers regarding what, if anything, CMS is doing to make it easier for consumers to enroll and the full scope of its outreach and marketing. Based on the unexpectedly-low enrollment numbers, it seems the agency’s efforts were wholly inadequate and put too much burden on consumers. While the Trump Administration urges the Supreme Court to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic, the data serve as proof that the broad open enrollment period we have repeatedly called for is a necessity. CMS has disregarded its duty to comply with congressional oversight and has left both the public and lawmakers in the dark during a time of national crisis.
“This needs to change immediately. Now is the absolute worst time for CMS to be missing in action. CMS must live up to its mission to serve the American people and do more to guide consumers and protect their well-being.”