Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday released a scathing rebuff of President Donald Trump’s inaction on health care protections during the COVID-19 pandemic, after an administration official denied the request of 12 governors to establish a special Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment period for uninsured individuals.
“The Trump administration’s cruel and inexplicable refusal to expand health coverage during the worst public health crisis in modern history has devastated families across the country and hurt our economy,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“Throughout this crisis, the president has failed to develop a real national strategy to protect our families, our frontline workers, and our small businesses from this virus. We are now approaching 200,000 American deaths from COVID-19 – deaths that could have been prevented had the president put partisan games aside, done the right thing, and worked to save lives,” she continued.
On April 13, Whitmer and a coalition of governors had requested that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma take action to allow for a special enrollment period so currently uninsured Americans could have access to health care coverage.
Whitmer and the coalition of governors from Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin had requested a SEP of at least 30 days.
Verma responded via letter on Sept. 1, denying the request without an explanation while touting the administration’s accomplishments.
“While we have not opened a special SEP at this time for uninsured individuals who did not timely enroll during the previous Open Enrollment Period or a previous SEP, we continue to consider the issue and how best to protect the health and safety of Americans during the pandemic,” Verma wrote on behalf of Azar.