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Trump administration won't reopen Obamacare exchanges during outbreak

President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the Brady Press Briefing Room on Wednesday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI
President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the Brady Press Briefing Room on Wednesday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

April 1 (UPI) -- The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for the Affordable Care Act due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence confirmed Wednesday.

During a briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump said that the group led by Pence made the decision to not hold a special enrollment period to allow Americans who do not currently have insurance to enroll in a plan under the healthcare system commonly known as Obamacare.

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Pence did not directly address the decision, instead noting that two major insurance companies have waived co-pays for coronavirus treatment and that states have been given waivers to expand coverage for coronavirus testing and treatment under Medicaid and Medicare.

He said that future legislation from Congress, in conjunction with the $2.2 trillion relief bill Trump signed last week, will ensure that Americans "have those costs compensated and covered."

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"We're going to continue to bring opportunities to the president, the traditional systems of Medicaid in particular for the uninsured in America," Pence said.

Trump last month said he and administration officials were considering relaunching the federal ACA enrollment site, HealthCare.gov, but Politico first reported Tuesday evening that a White House official said the administration is instead "exploring other options."

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The Trump administration oversees enrollment in 38 states with enrollment through the federal exchange typically taking place Nov. 1-Dec. 15.

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In response to the virus, 12 states that run their own ACA exchange have already opened special enrollment periods and the law includes a provision that allows special enrollment for individuals who have lost their workplace health insurance plans.

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