Democracy Forward, City of Chicago Sued Trump Admin in June 2020 for Denying Millions Access to Health Care Amid the Pandemic

In Response to Lawsuit, Trump’s HHS Said COVID-19 Not an “Exceptional Circumstance” Necessitating Reopening Enrollment

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Biden administration announced that it will open a special enrollment period from February 15 to May 15 to allow uninsured Americans affected by the pandemic to enroll in health insurance offered on Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.

Last June, on behalf of the City of Chicago, Democracy Forward sued the Trump administration for unlawfully refusing to open a special enrollment period.

In light of today’s announcement, the City of Chicago’s Department of Law issued the following statement:

“Reopening allows millions of Americans to enroll in health insurance amid a once-in-a-century pandemic, and we applaud the Biden administration for taking this critical measure that was brazenly undermined by former-President Trump. High-quality, affordable health insurance offered by the Affordable Care Act has been vital to our nationwide fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to continuing to work with President Biden and his team to find impactful, science-based solutions for our families and small businesses here in Chicago and across the nation.”


The lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s refusal to open a special enrollment period was filed on June 15 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Fourteen states and the U.S. House of Representatives filed briefs in support of the suit.

The Trump administration’s failure to reopen enrollment denied thousands of Chicagoans and millions of Americans the opportunity to enroll in quality and affordable health insurance as they worried about contracting the virus and weathering the economic crisis it has caused. The Trump administration’s decision also forced municipalities like Chicago to bear the financial and human costs of providing uncompensated care to their uninsured residents. In response to the lawsuit, the Trump administration argued that “a COVID-19 SEP is unwarranted” even though the government’s own records show that health insurers, governors, and experts adamantly disagreed.

Learn more about the lawsuit and read the full complaint.


Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.

Press Contacts

Charisma Troiano
Democracy Forward
(202) 701-1781

Kate LeFurgy
City of Chicago