Democrat introduces bill to allow auto-enrollment in Obamacare

A California Democrat has introduced a proposal for Obamacare that Senate Republicans backed during their repeal and replace efforts last year.

The legislation from Rep. Ami Bera would allow states to set up programs that automatically enroll people in Obamacare plans or in Medicaid, depending on which programs they qualify for. People would have 60 days to opt out of the health insurance.

The proposal was included as an option for states in a bill introduced by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Under that legislation, states would receive federal funding to set up their own healthcare coverage programs.

 The goal of such a proposal is to reduce the number of people without health insurance. More than 28 million people are uninsured, some because they say they cannot afford coverage or do not want it, and others because they live in states that didn’t expand Medicaid.

Because of the way subsidies are set up under Obamacare plans, some beneficiaries would not pay anything to receive coverage. Under Bera’s proposal, only people who would receive no-cost medical coverage would be enrolled in plans, a move he said would extend coverage to 4 million people.

People are allowed to enroll in Medicaid at any time, but Obamacare has a limited period during which people can sign up. The period last six weeks, from November through the end of December, under the Trump administration.

Bera also introduced the Easy Enrollment Act on Friday to change those dates so they extend to April 15, which is Tax Day, saying people are too busy with the winter holidays during the current deadline, and were financially strained at that time.

“Too many hard-working families have been left out or left behind by premiums and deductibles they can’t afford,” Bera said in a statement. “Americans deserve a plan that protects their current healthcare coverage, expands enrollment, and reduces costs for everyone. The Pathway to Universal Coverage Act and the Easy Enrollment Act are two steps we can take right now to give affordable coverage to millions.”