The Trump Administration’s decision yesterday not to allow open enrollment for health insurance under Obamacare, despite pressure to give uninsured Americans the chance to become insured as the health crisis deepens, has left Obamacare advocates wondering again whether Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is considering reversing his longstanding opposition to the national health care law–and if he supports Gov. Jared Polis’ (D-CO) decision to allow uninsured Coloradans to enroll in Obamacare now in a “special enrollment” period.
It appears that the last time Gardner made a public comment on Obamacare was back in May, well before the coronavirus crisis.
At the time, he said of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), “Instead of trying to protect something [Obamacare] that has failed over the last eight years or ten years, let’s figure out a better way for the American people.”
But the question is much more salient now, with the virus as well as a Supreme Court decision expected soon that may gut the ACA.
Just last week, Trump was asked if he’d “consider rethinking” his support for that lawsuit, and his answer mirrors Gardner’s ACA stance in the past insofar as it fails to specify a specific health care plan that offers, in Gardner’s words, a “better way for the American people.”
“Well, that’s a lawsuit coming out of Texas, again, that was headed up by Texas,” said Trump at 1 hour 44 min here. “And what we want to do is get rid of the bad health care, and put in a great health care. And we will always — I will say this, I can make this commitment to you — the Republican Party is fully backing pre-existing conditions. Now, if we could get a great health care plan, which we’d need the House to do, but if we can get a great health care plan, we will only do it if we can get pre-existing conditions totally backed. So, we’re backing pre-existing. But we’d like to get rid of bad health care. Now, we are running the bad health care much better than it was ever run, and we’re making it better, but it could be much better than it is. And so, what we want to do is terminate it, have a great health care, but we will only do it with pre-existing. We will back pre-existing conditions. Okay, thank you all very much!“
Politico first reported Trump’s decision not to open Obamacare to new signups, outside of those already allowed, reporting yesterday:
The Trump administration has decided against reopening Obamacare enrollment to uninsured Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, defying calls from health insurers and Democrats to create a special sign-up window amid the health crisis.
President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment site, and insurers said they privately received assurances from health officials overseeing the law’s marketplace. However, a White House official on Tuesday evening told POLITICO the administration will not reopen the site for a special enrollment period, and that the administration is “exploring other options.”
“We applaud Governor Polis for opening a special enrollment period for Colorado that will give residents access to much-needed health insurance,” said Vanessa Harmoush of Rocky Mountain Values, a progressive advocacy group. “While the Governor puts Coloradans first, Senator Gardner has fought to take away access to health care that we need now more than ever. It’s time for Gardner to stop siding with special interests and oppose the lawsuit aiming to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.”
Gardner’s office did not return a call seeking to know his current thinking on Obamacare.