The White House scrambles to clarify key details from Trump's speech announcing his coronavirus response
The Trump administration and other officials scrambled to walk back three crucial components of President Donald Trump's nationally-televised address on the US' response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
After Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from most of Europe to the United States, the Department of Homeland Security clarified that it would exclude US citizens and permanent residents. Trump also issued a tweet stating that trade of goods between the US and Europe would not be halted after saying the exact opposite in his speech, when he said the ban "will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo but various other things."
A major US health insurance industry group contradicted Trumps' claim that major health insurers would waive co-payments on coronavirus treatments, clarifying the waivers would apply to testing.
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Minutes after President Donald Trump delivered a major address on the administration's response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, his own administration and other US officials publicly contradicted three important claims from his speech. Trump and the officials quickly walked back his nationally-televised statements that 1) the administration would ban all travel from Europe to the United States, 2) the ban would also apply to trade and cargo between the US and Europe, and 3) major health insurers would waive co-pays on coronavirus treatment. The outbreak of the new coronavirus, first identified in China, has now spread to 118 countries and regions, infecting an estimated 126,000 people and causing over 4,600 deaths reported worldwide. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic. There are now over 1,300 reported cases and 38 deaths from the coronavirus reported in the United States. Teh cases are spread throughout Washington, DC and 38 states, many of which have declared a state of emergency. The US has been relatively slow to respond to the coronavirus compared to other nations, testing far fewer people per capita for the coronavirus and dispatching fewer coordinated resources to combat its spread as President Donald Trump has publicly downplayed its severity. Here are the important claims about the US' coronavirus response from Trump's speech that were later clarified or walked back: The Department of Homeland Security issued a major clarification to Trump's travel ban announcement In his speech, Trump announced that the United States would take the drastic step of banning all travel from most of Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) for 30 days in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus from abroad. What Trump said:
"I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being of all Americans to keep new cases from entering our shores. We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground. There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom."
Shortly after Trump's speech, however, the Department of Homeland Security issued major clarifications to Trump's remarks, announcing that the travel ban will not apply to United States citizens or permanent residents currently abroad.
A key clarification from DHS on the European travel ban - it doesn’t apply to US citizens or permanent residents. pic.twitter.com/NzpbYnsjK9 — Michael Li 李之樸 (@mcpli) March 12, 2020
Trump himself walked back his remarks on halting trade moments after his speech About an hour after his speech ended, Trump sent out a tweet announcing that "trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe," a significant departure from what Trump said in his own speech. It's unclear if the incorrect details about the trade halt were written into the speech, or if Trump misread his teleprompter and misspoke.
Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2020
A powerful insurance lobby contradicted Trump's comments on insurance waivers In his speech, Trump made another major announcement, telling Americans that major health insurers would not only cover the costs of coronavirus treatment in insurance plans but also waive co-payments for all coronavirus treatments. What Trump said:
"Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments and to prevent surprise medical billing."
Not long after his speech, however, a representative for insurance industry group America's Health Insurance Plans told Politico that major health insurers had only agreed to waive co-pays for coronavirus testing, not the far more costly coronavirus treatments.
Trump's claim tonight that health insurers "have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments" seems to be news to them.“For testing. Not for treatment.” a spokesperson for the major insurance lobby AHIP says. — Sarah Owermohle (@owermohle) March 12, 2020 Trump tonight said health insurers “have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments.” WH official says Trump meant to echo what VP said yesterday that insurers “have agreed to waive all copays on coronavirus *testing.” — Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 12, 2020
Read more: Trump says he'll ask Congress to provide payroll tax relief and waivers for small businesses to tackle the US coronavirus outbreak Trump suspends travel from Europe — except the United Kingdom — for 30 days to contain the coronavirus spread Trump cancels upcoming trips to Nevada and Colorado 'out of an abundance of caution from the Coronavirus outbreak' Trump was caught saying 'oh f---" into a 'hot mic' moments before he began his televised speech on the coronavirusSEE ALSO: The US decided to make its own coronavirus test, but the process was plagued by errors and delays. Here's a timeline of what went wrong. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A law professor weighs in on how Trump could beat impeachment
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The Trump administration is reminding people they can sign up for Obamacare coverage if coronavirus cost them their jobs — even as it fights to eliminate the law
The Trump administration reminded newly jobless Americans they can still opt to sign up for health...The Trump administration reminded newly jobless Americans they can still opt to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare on Friday. People who lose their jobs qualify to sign up for an Obamacare plan for up to 60 days. Azar's comments sharply collide with the White House's support of a lawsuit to eliminate Obamacare. Trump recently refused to reopen the federal exchanges for people to obtain health insurance, even as 10 million Americans filed for unemployment last month. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The Trump administration wants to remind people who have lost their jobs in the coronavirus pandemic that they still have options to replace their employer-provided health insurance. For example, they can still sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act — former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law that President Donald Trump has fiercely fought to strike down since he first took office three years ago. At a White House press conference on Friday evening, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar laid out options for the surging number of newly uninsured Americans. .@SecAzar: "If you've lost employer insurance coverage you have insurance options that you should look into. You'd be eligible for a special enrollment period on the health care exchanges and depending on your state, you may be eligible for Medicaid." pic.twitter.com/EQ74aWUCEP — CSPAN (@cspan) April 3, 2020 "If you've lost employer insurance coverage you have insurance options that you should look into," Azar said. "You'd be eligible for a special enrollment period on the health care exchanges and depending on your state, you may be eligible for Medicaid." Under the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, people who recently lost their jobs can buy a health plan from the insurance exchanges for up to 60 days. It's considered a "qualifying event" allowing jobless people to obtain coverage outside the annual enrollment period, which already passed for the year. 11 states and the District of Columbia, though, have reopened their exchanges to allow the unemployed to buy federally subsidized health insurance, The New York Times reported. They include California, New York, and Colorado. Employees who lost their jobs but didn't have any health coverage may still enroll in Medicaid, the federal program insuring low-income Americans. But that's a significant hurdle in 14 states that chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare. Azar's striking suggestion collides with the administration's support of a lawsuit that could eliminate Obamacare and strip 20 million Americans of their coverage. Trump has refused to reopen the Obamacare exchanges for another enrollment period, going against calls from Democrats and insurers to make it easier for people to replace their insurance coverage. The president said on Thursday it "doesn't seem fair" that nearly 30 million people remain uninsured in the US. Instead, the president announced on Friday the administration plans to pay hospitals to cover coronavirus treatments for patients lacking insurance. The economic fallout from the coronavirus has caused over 10 million people to file for unemployment benefits in March. It raises the prospect that the number of uninsured Americans could skyrocket into the summer, given around half of Americans receive health coverage through their employers. The Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think-tank, recently estimated that a whopping 3.5 million people lost their health coverage in the last two weeks of March, underscoring the severity of the crisis. Congressional Democrats are pushing to expand Obamacare in a future coronavirus relief package, and they're considering boosting federal subsidies to make plans more affordable and incentivizing states to expand Medicaid, Business Insider's Kimberly Leonard reported.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak
For months, the president has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, overstated the impact of his...For months, the president has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, overstated the impact of his policies and potential treatments, blamed others and tried to rewrite the history of his response.
Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights, New Zealand introduces quarantine for almost all arrivals The travel...Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights, New Zealand introduces quarantine for almost all arrivals The travel ban from Europe to the United States has come into force, as a growing number of countries across the world ramp up their efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.President Trump’s travel ban on the 26 countries of the Schengen area began as part of stepped up efforts by his administration to tackle the growing Covid-19 outbreak, including the declaration of a national emergency, freeing up $50bn in federal funding and promising a screening website and drive-through tests. Continue reading...