(BOSTON, MA) — Statement of Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst, regarding the end of the fifth enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act and the announcement by CMS administrator Seema Verma that 8.8 million people, according to preliminary estimates, have selected a plan through the federally facilitated marketplace, healthcare.gov.
“The surge in enrollment in Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces during this fifth enrollment period makes it crystal clear that Americans demand and support the quality, affordable health insurance and consumer protections the ACA offers. Despite deliberate actions by the Trump administration to tamp down enrollment, the enrollment community defied all odds and exceeded all expectations by enrolling nearly 9 million people over the past six weeks.
“These enrollment numbers aren’t final and don’t take into account sign-ups through the state-based marketplaces. However, there is no question millions more people would have enrolled in coverage had the Trump administration not worked to hinder enrollment by cutting in half the enrollment period and by slashing advertising and enrollment assistance, while at the same time making numerous statements that have that have created confusion for potential enrollees. Communities of color and younger Americans were particularly at risk of not enrolling due to the substantial cuts to in-person assistors and marketing and outreach, a primary means of reaching out to harder-to-reach communities.
“Millions of Americans rely on the ACA marketplaces to shop for health coverage that protects them and their families from the unexpected by covering doctor visits, hospital stays, prescriptions, preventive care, and by providing peace of mind and protections against financial uncertainty. They should be outraged that their own government intentionally and methodically worked to prevent people from getting access to quality affordable health care as part of a cynical and politically driven effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s the job of the Trump administration and Congress to make it easier, not harder, for Americans to get affordable health care. They should abandon their relentless efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and focus their energy on helping more people obtain coverage. Looking ahead to next year’s open enrollment period, the Trump administration should adequately fund navigator grants and marketing for outreach and enrollment as well as create a longer enrollment period.”
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.