As a physician, I’m extremely concerned that President Trump refuses to help tens of thousands of people in Wisconsin get health care after they’d lost their insurance because they were laid off during the COVID-19 recession, itself the result of the Trump administration’s poor planning and preparation.
More than 200,000 people in Wisconsin have lost their jobs. For many of them, losing a job also means losing the health insurance they need to care for themselves and their families. Now, in the middle of a pandemic that has killed over 200,000 Americans, families in Wisconsin need more health care, not less. Yet, less health care is what President Trump is saying Wisconsin deserves.
Families without health care are more likely to delay care. I’ve seen all too often how someone without health insurance puts off seeing a doctor for chest pains, waving it off as heartburn, only to suffer a stroke or a heart attack. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to plead with my patients to take their glaucoma medication as prescribed, and not split pills so they last longer and cost less. Without quality, affordable health care, more people will delay care that will put their lives at risk.
With so many people now out of work and uninsured, one sensible step is to allow them to buy health insurance through the ACA through a special extended enrollment period beyond the 30 days of losing their job and outside of the traditional year-end enrollment period. Many of these applicants would qualify for discounts under the ACA, bringing down their health care premiums. Instead of forcing people to pay thousands of dollars for health insurance through COBRA, which continues their workplace insurance, extending the ACA enrollment period enables these same people to buy their own coverage at lower rates that are more affordable than COBRA. With no explanation, the Trump administration refused to let laid-off workers in Wisconsin and 11 other states shop for affordable health coverage.