City of Chicago sues federal government over lack of open enrollment period
The city of Chicago has sued the Trump administration over its decision not to open up a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchange in response to COVID-19.
The lawsuit, filed against U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and the two agencies, argues that the “once-in-a-century health crisis’ caused by the new coronavirus pandemic falls under the language that requires a new enrollment period for health insurance coverage.
It also argues the Trump administration’s decision not to offer a special enrollment period has impeded efforts to test and treat the virus and exacerbated its spread.
“By preventing Americans from enrolling in ACA-compliant coverage, defendants’ refusal to provide a special enrollment period further strains Chicago’s public health and emergency response infrastructure at a time when Chicago is least equipped to bear it,” the lawsuit said. “And it will frustrate Chicago’s efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus by discouraging its residents from seeking testing and treatment. These dynamics harm the city’s budget, as well as its overall health and well-being.”
The suit requests the federal government open a special enrollment period, as well as cover legal fees and other relief the court deems necessary.
Representatives from the federal agencies declined comment, citing pending litigation.
As of Tuesday, there have been 2,427 COVID-related deaths in Chicago and 49,775 total cases.
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