What We're Reading: Millions File for Unemployment; ACA Enrollment Will Not Be Reopened; Delays in COVID-19 Testing

April 2, 2020
AJMC Staff
AJMC Staff

A record number of Americans filed for unemployment last week; President Trump decides not to reopen Affordable Care Act enrollment; a survey found a majority of physicians say they cannot test for COVID-19 fast enough.

Record Number of Americans File for Unemployment

The US Department of Labor announced more than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, The New York Times reports. This marks a record number of filings for the second week straight as the US economy continues to take a toll from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Combined, the 2 week claims total nearly 10 million, an unprecedented number. According to the Times, the previous worst week on record was in 1982, when 695,000 Americans filed for unemployment.

Trump Administration Will Not Reopen ACA Enrollment

After announcing they would not reopen federal enrollment on HealthCare.gov, the Trump administration said it is considering using federal programs like Medicaid and Medicare to address the rising number of uninsured Americans, Politico reports. Democrats and health insurers previously called on the president to create a special sign-up window for uninsured Americans. Although individuals who lost their workplace insurance may still be eligible for coverage through a special enrollment period for certain life circumstances, millions of individuals who don’t qualify for a special allowance under the ACA will have to wait until the fall when marketplaces reopen.

Survey Finds Physicians Cannot Test for COVID-19 Fast Enough

In a survey conducted by Harvard Medical School and RAND Corporation of more than 2600 physicians in the Doximity network, 73.3% of respondents said they are not currently able to test patients for COVID-19 quickly and easily. In addition, 77.5% of respondents said they did not believe their hospital or clinic had adequate medical supplies and equipment should the pandemic worsen. However, when it comes to affordability of COVID-19 tests, 48.6% of respondents replied they were not concerned about patients avoiding testing or treatment due to financial or health insurance barriers.