On Monday, Oregon’s congressional delegation pushed the Trump administration to extend the Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace through the end of the year, in light of the severe obstacles Oregonians faced due to COVID-19 restrictions and the historic wildfires.
A release from Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and House members Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden, Kurt Schrader, Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer said the COVID-19 pandemic has had “…severe health and economic consequences for Oregon”. The release said to date nearly 60,000 Oregonians have been diagnosed with COVID-19, over 700 have lost their lives, and 145,000 remain jobless. The group said around 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 are being reported each day and 50,000 Oregonians have filed new unemployment claims since the beginning of September. The release said “This makes ensuring access to health coverage more critical now than ever as families continue to grapple with the effects of the virus on their health and livelihoods”.
The release said at the same time, thousands of Oregonians have become displaced or homeless as a result of the wildfires. The fires destroyed more than 4,000 homes and led to 24,000 claims for public assistance.
The current scheduled close for Open Enrollment is December 15th. The lawmakers are asking officials with Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to push for approving the extension, which has also been requested by Governor Kate Brown.