Pritzker blasts decision to not create ACA special open enrollment
Gov. JB Pritzker blasted reports Wednesday that President Donald Trump does not plan to create a special open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Pritzker said during his Wednesday press conference that 500,000 of the state’s 800,000 uninsured would be eligible.
“Frankly, this is leadership malpractice,” he said.
Pritzker added that Illinoisans recently laid off from work can sign up for coverage without the special open enrollment period because they have experienced a “qualifying life event.”
Pritzker also criticized the Trump administration for not backing down from a lawsuit seeking to overturn the federal law.
He called it a “special insult to the people of the nation at this moment.”
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday afternoon that the administration was considering using Medicare and Medicaid to cover the growing number of uninsured Americans.
Meanwhile, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported 42 more deaths Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 141.
She urged Illinoisans to be “strong and courageous” during a period when the number of deaths is expected to rise daily.
“The courageous actions that we need to take are well within our grasp,” she said. “And those actions are the ones we’ve been saying from the outset. Wash your hands. Stay at home. Clean frequently touched surfaces. All of these things seem minimal, but these are the courageous actions that are going to save lives and eventually end this pandemic.”
Officials reported 986 new cases in Illinois, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,980 in 56 counties. There have been 40,384 individuals tested in Illinois.
Ezike said about 20 percent of those who test positive are requiring hospitalization and roughly 5 percent are requiring intensive care. The mortality rate is between 1 percent and 3 percent.
Additionally, Pritzker said the state has received more than 1,100 applications from former and out-of-state healthcare professionals wanting to help out during the crisis. He said many live in Illinois, but work in a border state.
Pritzker also said there’s enough staff for the first 500 beds at the field hospital being set up this week at McCormick Place in Chicago. But there’s not enough yet to staff the 3,000 beds projected to come online by the end of the month.
“We have some for the remaining beds, but we need more,” he said. “There’s no doubt.”
Meanwhile, Pritzker said that General Assembly leaders are talking about how they could still complete a legislative session this year.
“Some governors might say that this is a dream, that you can’t get your Legislature together,” Pritzker joked. “But we have things we need to get done in the state of Illinois. So I am hoping we will be able to figure out how we may be able to get them meeting.”
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