The Obama administration announced on Friday that it would begin issuing people who have not yet applied for coverage through the Obamacare health care law’s marketplaceplaces, a program that will eventually allow them to buy private health insurance in the federal government’s insurance exchanges.
The announcement comes just one day after President Donald Trump, who has been working to push through the Affordable Care Act, told Fox News that he wanted to start rolling out “massive” health care reforms.
But the White House and other administration officials have insisted that it will be years before they can begin rolling those changes out.
On Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the administration is “committed to the full implementation” of the law.
She said that while it will take time to enroll the hundreds of millions of people who currently qualify for coverage under the Affordable Health Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, it will eventually provide health care coverage to everyone.
In an interview with Fox News, Sanders also downplayed the importance of the WhiteHouse’s announcement that it is rolling out the Medicaid expansion to the uninsured.
“The reality is that the Whitehouse and the White house have been very clear that the expansion of Medicaid is something that the Trump administration is committed to and that they will be implementing,” she said.
“We will have a huge enrollment period to make sure that everyone is eligible to get health care.
And we will also have a massive enrollment period for the [individual and small group] markets.
So we’re not going to be rolling it out immediately.
But I think you’ll see us begin that.”
But the president has been adamant that the law’s Medicaid expansions should be expanded to all Americans.
In the Fox News interview, Sanders said the administration “has made it very clear” that the health care overhaul will be “a massive expansion of the Medicaid program.”
She said it is “absolutely true” that in the coming weeks the administration will begin rolling out a series of other measures, including expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), extending coverage to people with preexisting conditions and providing tax credits to people who can afford to pay for their health insurance.
But Sanders said it will “take a while” to roll out the changes and that she would not say when those changes would be available to all people.
“I think that the number of people that are going to see that change is going to take some time to make,” she told Fox.
“I think we’re going to have to be patient.
But we’re committed to the implementation of the ACA.”
The White House announced the expansion on Thursday, a day before Trump met with lawmakers in the White, House of Representatives chambers for a signing ceremony.
Sanders said that she was “absolutely certain” that millions of Americans would sign up in the next three weeks.
But she said that it was not the administration’s intent to do that, but to see if people could sign up by January 31.
Sanders also said the White Senate will not be participating in the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges, but instead will provide support to the states.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that if the House and Senate pass a bill that includes “full funding for the states,” it will send it to his desk for consideration.
McConnell added that the Senate has “an open window” for the WhiteSenate to pass a plan that would extend coverage to millions of the uninsured by the end of 2019.
But a number of GOP lawmakers are concerned that a delay in implementing the ACA could lead to an exodus of people from the Obamacare markets.
Sen. Rand Paul (R, Ky.), for instance, is pushing a bill called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care for All” that would require states to expand Medicaid and set up insurance pools to make coverage available to people without health insurance, including those who are too poor or too sick to qualify for Medicaid.
Paul said on Fox that if there was an increase in enrollment, he would oppose the measure, because it would be “unnecessary” and it would “allow insurance companies to raise premiums.”
Paul said that under his bill, the administration would have to provide additional funds to states to cover the costs of expanding Medicaid.
Senators have said they want to see a plan by the spring or summer that includes the federal subsidies to help states pay for Medicaid expansion.