WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 28, 2021 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement in response to the Executive Orders to be signed today establishing a special enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and rolling back restrictions on Medicaid eligibility. The Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, has urged the federal government and individual states to reopen their marketplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the Medicaid program in the face of economic uncertainty.

“By reopening the federal ACA marketplace, the administration is sending a lifeline to millions of people across the country who are facing the health threats and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic without health coverage. Marketplace plans offer quality coverage and federal subsidies to eligible applicants at a time when millions of people nationwide have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. This new opportunity to enroll in private health coverage or Medicaid will give families across the country the peace of mind of knowing they will have access to health care when they need it.

“Having health insurance can mean the difference between life or death for someone at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). People at risk for CVD who are uninsured or underinsured are more likely than people with adequate coverage to die from the disease, and uninsured patients with stroke have greater neurological impairments, longer hospital stays and higher risk of death than similar patients with adequate coverage. The COVID-19 pandemic, which poses elevated health risks for people with CVD and other chronic conditions and may lead to heart attacks and stroke in people who have had the virus, makes it especially important to be covered.

“The American Heart Association believes health care should be adequate, accessible and affordable for everyone in this country. We commend the administration for giving families nationwide the opportunity to enroll in quality, affordable coverage while also investing in outreach and enrollment programs. We urge the administration to continue working to protect the patient protections of the ACA and strengthen Medicaid. We are proud to be one of 20 national patient organizations that filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the ACA’s health insurance marketplace and other patient protections in the case of California v. Texas, and we continue to support Medicaid expansion in the 12 states that have not yet taken that step to improve health coverage for working families. 


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:

Steve Weiss: 202-607-0911; steve.weiss@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org