ACP applauds ACA marketplaces reopening

The organization says reopening the ACA markets is essential to improving health care access across the U.S.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) supports President Joe R. Biden’s executive order calling for a special enrollment period on Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

According to a news release, the organization applauds not only the reopening of the marketplaces but also the order calling for agency heads to begin rolling back health care restrictions.

“Re-opening enrollment for health insurance plans under the ACA is critical,” Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president of ACP, says in the release. “So many patients across the country have lost their employer-based health insurance due to the staggering job losses we have seen for the past year. We know patients without health insurance live sicker and die younger. We should always be looking for ways to increase the number of people who have health insurance, but it is imperative now since our country is facing an unparalleled health care crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Last week Biden called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reopen the marketplace at HealthCare.gov for a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15, according to a fact sheet from the White House.

The move comes as millions fear losing their health employer-sponsored health insurance due to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the order, Biden is also directing federal agencies to examine rules and policies which limit access to health care, such as:

  • Policies that undermine health care access for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Demonstrations and waivers under Medicaid and the ACA which reduce coverage or undermine the program, like work requirements.
  • Policies that undermine the Health Insurance Marketplace or other markets.
  • Policies that make it difficult to enroll in Medicaid and the ACA.
  • Policies which limit affordability of coverage including for dependents

The New York Times reports that during an oval office signing ceremony Biden said the move was an effort to “undo the damage” of his predecessor.

The Trump administration ultimately chose not to reopen the marketplace in March after the former president had floated the idea during press briefings saying they were exploring other options, as previously reported.