April 6, 2020
As our nation continues to confront the devastating impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, access to health insurance has never been as critical as it is now. Vital for all Americans under any circumstances, the need for health insurance and access to health care is even more pressing in this moment, especially for the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs, and consequently their health insurance as well, due to the economic downturn associated with this pandemic.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits the President to initiate a special enrollment period at a time of crisis, and President Trump has previously done so in areas afflicted by natural disasters. Today, our entire nation faces disaster. Thus, the Central Conference of American Rabbis is dismayed by the Trump Administration’s announcement that it will not open a special enrollment period for Americans to access health insurance through the ACA, and we urge the President to reconsider. The security that health insurance provides, both to individual citizens and to health care providers, is essential for all of our citizens as our nation faces this unprecedented health crisis.
As the CCAR has affirmed in numerous resolutions in quoting Shulchan Aruch, “even the synagogue’s needs take a backseat to the requirement to care for the indigent sick” (Yoreh Dei-ah 249.16). At this moment of widespread and escalating need, we call on President Trump to reverse his earlier decision immediately and to open a special enrollment period enabling all Americans who need health insurance to access it through the Affordable Care Act.
Rabbi Ronald Segal
Rabbi Hara Person
Central Conference of American Rabbis