As rates of COVID-19 infection skyrocket, people continue to lose access to care
Since Inauguration Day, the Trump administration has worked to gut the very public health programs needed to respond to this public health crisis
WASHINGTON — As health care providers nationwide scramble to care for the increasing number of patients with COVID-19, the gaps in the U.S. public health system, including those caused by the Trump administration’s policies, are becoming clearer and clearer.
Just this week, the Trump administration refused to open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to allow more uninsured people to sign up for health coverage. In fact, the president confirmed that his administration continues to support the lawsuit to entirely repeal the ACA. Such a decision would cause millions to lose their health insurance, eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and do away with important benefits like no-cost birth control, and much more. As rates of unemployment skyrocket across the country, many people are at increasing risk of losing their health insurance. In addition, while Medicaid expansion — part of the ACA — supports people with medical costs related to COVID-19, it’s of no help to people in the 14 states that have refused to expand Medicaid, with the support of the Trump administration.
Last month, Planned Parenthood Federation of America joined more than 200 organizations in calling on the administration to create an emergency special open enrollment period.
Statement from Jacqueline Ayers, Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“In the very moment when people need care the most, the Trump administration is failing to effectively respond because they spent years dismantling the very public health systems we need. Yet it’s obvious the administration hasn’t learned. They continue to undermine the public’s ability to access the quality, affordable health care. Now more than ever, it is time to strengthen and expand our public health systems and protect the health care providers so we can effectively fight this COVID-19 pandemic.”
See the full tweet thread here.
Here is what you need to know about the Trump administration's policies and how they’ve damaged our public health infrastructure, and made it much more difficult for providers and regular people to respond to a global health care crisis.
Get the facts:
FACT: The Trump administration refused to open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would allow more uninsured people to sign up for health coverage. This comes after the administration announced it continues to support the lawsuit to entirely repeal the ACA, an outcome that would cause millions to lose their health insurance, eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and get rid of important benefits like no-cost birth control. In addition, while Medicaid expansion — part of the ACA — supports people with medical costs related to COVID-19, it’s of no help to the people in the 14 states that refused to expand Medicaid.
FACT: After the White House’s top official in charge of response to a global pandemic left the administration, the White House did not fill the role and instead disbanded the National Security Council’s entire global health security team.
FACT: The Trump administration assigned leadership of its COVID-19 response to Vice President Mike Pence, who exacerbated a devastating HIV outbreak as governor of Indiana because he had personal “moral” objections to CDC-approved measures like providing clean syringes.
FACT: The Trump administration sabotaged the Affordable Care Act by drastically curbing enrollment assistance, allowing junk health insurance plans on the marketplaces, and reducing the number of people who have health insurance today. The Trump administration supports a lawsuit that could gut the protections and coverage established by the ACA. In addition, state politicians across the county have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of people without needed health insurance.
FACT: The Trump administration pushed for Medicaid work requirements, an additional barrier to health insurance that is proven to kick tens of thousands of people off their health care. Women, particularly women of color, are significantly more likely to lose coverage as a result of these work requirements.
FACT: The Trump administration attempts to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers in any way they can, including their Title X gag rule that forced Planned Parenthood out of the nation’s only dedicated affordable birth control program. The administration also encourages states to block people with Medicaid’s access to Planned Parenthood health centers. Many communities already have extreme health care provider shortages, and Planned Parenthood is often the only trusted provider. We’re in the midst of urgent public health crises — not just COVID-19 but also the opioid epidemic and extremely high rates of STIs — we need a strong public health safety net, not fewer trusted providers in our communities.
FACT: The Trump administration's cruel public charge rule was designed to keep immigrant families from accessing health care and basic needs. Experts believe that the rule could weaken America’s response to COVID-19 by preventing immigrant families from seeking health care.
FACT: The Trump administration proposed gutting CDC funding by 16 percent in the FY21 Budget, even amidst the early warning signs of a global pandemic. In fact, despite the rising threat to public health, top Trump officials continue to irresponsibly defend the agency cuts. There is no fiscal reason that could justify stripping down the nation’s life-saving health care infrastructure when we need it the most.
FACT: The Trump administration proposed a budget for FY21 that would slash funding for Health and Human Services (HHS) health care programs, including over $900 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years. Without access to safety-net health care coverage, many people with low incomes or people who live in rural areas will have no options to cover the cost of care, leading to delayed testing and treatment for the deadly virus. The Trump administration stacked HHS with anti-abortion idealogues like Secretary Alex Azar, who spent his time going on TV to tout his anti-abortion agenda while confirmed cases of COVID-19 were on the rise.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.