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Menendez Praises Extensions of Health Care Enrollment


Senator repeatedly pressed the previous administration to help Americans get coverage during public health crisis – but it refused

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), one of the co-authors of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy, has praised actions taken Thursday by the Biden Administration to reopen the enrollment period to help Americans get health coverage in the face of a growing pandemic that has already claimed nearly 430,000 lives.  The Senator had repeatedly urged the previous administration to take similar action throughout the ongoing public health crisis, but President Trump refused.

Governor Phil Murphy immediately followed today’s action by President Biden by extending the enrollment period for New Jersey’s state-run health exchange, which was to expire Jan. 31, through May 15.  This is the first year in which New Jersey has run its own exchange to provide health coverage for its residents.  Prior to the 2021 coverage year and since the ACA became law, New Jerseyans relied on the federal exchange.

“President Biden and Governor Murphy did what President Trump should have done nearly a year ago but was too callous and unwilling to do as the pandemic raged on and hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their lives to COVID-19,” said Sen. Menendez.  “No one should be without access to quality, affordable health care in the middle of a public health crisis.  It’s a matter of life and death.  By reopening the ACA exchanges, individuals and families can get the coverage they need to see a doctor, get underlying health conditions under control, and get tested, treated and vaccinated for COVID-19 without the fear of going bankrupt.  It’s the humane and right thing to do.”

As COVID-19 deaths and unemployment soared, causing many more Americans to lose their employer-based coverage, the Senator repeatedly called for the ACA enrollment period to be reopened.  Last March, Sen. Menendez joined a group of senators publicly calling on the Trump Administration to re-open ACA enrollmenturged the Trump Administration to reconsider its decision not to reopen ACA enrollment, and introduced legislation to re-open ACA enrollment to ensure more Americans could get health coverage amidst the pandemic.  He later joined 37 of his Senate colleagues in pressing congressional leaders to make sure that any future coronavirus relief legislation included strong measures to secure health care coverage for Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included reopening the ACA enrollment.

For New Jerseyans looking to enroll on the state’s health exchange, go to Get Covered NJ.