Latest Update June 19, 2020

U.S. House of Representatives Files Amicus Brief in Support

In a statement on the amicus filing, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “As the threat from this crisis grows, the Administration has ignored the advice of health experts and the law, and refused to reopen Affordable Care Act enrollment to ensure millions of uninsured workers and their families get the affordable, lifesaving coverage they need.”

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Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, President Trump and his administration refused to open a special enrollment period to allow millions of Americans affected by a once-in-a-century pandemic to enroll in high-quality, affordable health insurance offered on Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. The ACA and its regulations require the Department of Health and Human Services to open a special enrollment period when consumers face “exceptional circumstances,” which includes a pandemic like COVID-19. But President Trump refused to open one — despite calls from a diverse and bipartisan group of stakeholders to do so — apparently because of his personal opposition to the ACA.

Millions of Americans have likely lost their health coverage in recent months. Even though health coverage for all Americans is critical in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, the Trump administration has arbitrarily refused to allow special enrollment, making it harder for uninsured Americans to get affordable care. Without a special enrollment period, millions of Americans worried about whether they or their families might contract the virus are unlawfully being denied access to the affordable health insurance offered on the 38 exchanges operated on HealthCare.gov.

The refusal to reopen enrollment exacerbates the spread of COVID-19 by making it more difficult for families to get tested and treated for the virus. Even worse, the Trump administration’s refusal means there are more uninsured Americans, forcing municipalities like Chicago to bear additional financial and human costs associated with providing uncompensated care to the uninsured.

We filed suit, on behalf of the City of Chicago, to ensure the Trump administration follows the law and opens a special enrollment period in response to COVID-19. President Trump and his administration have no sound explanation for denying millions of uninsured Americans access to affordable health insurance when they need it most. The administration’s refusal to open a special enrollment period is unlawful.

The complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction requesting the court require the Trump administration to open a special enrollment period were filed on June 15, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

John Lewis

Counsel

Litigating challenges to unlawful executive branch activity regarding immigration, civil rights, health care, education, veterans’ affairs, and more.

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Robin Thurston

Senior Counsel

Challenging Executive Branch illegality.

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Ben Seel

Counsel & Legal Analyst

Focusing on justice, national security, immigration, and health care issues.

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