Dems accuse Trump of ObamaCare enrollment sabotage

Dems accuse Trump of ObamaCare enrollment sabotage
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A group of House Democrats is accusing the Trump administration of deliberately sabotaging ObamaCare enrollment efforts.

In a letter sent Monday, the ranking Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee demanded answers about the Trump administration’s decision to slash funding for ObamaCare outreach.

The lawmakers said they’re worried that the cuts are part of a deliberate attempt by the administration to destabilize the health insurance markets ahead of an open enrollment period that begins Nov. 1.

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“We are concerned that the Administration’s decision … is driven neither by concerns regarding the effectiveness of Navigators nor by a desire to safeguard taxpayer dollars,” the lawmakers wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceHHS nominee Azar made millions working for drugmaker Lilly Government travel paid for by taxpayers must be accountable Overnight Health Care: Mandate repeal sparks fears of premium hikes | HHS nominee to get Senate hearing this month | Trump officials eye work requirements for Medicaid recipients MORE. “Rather, it appears that the decision fits within a pattern of Administration efforts to depress enrollment and sabotage [ObamaCare].”

In late August, the administration said it would slash the open enrollment advertising budget from $100 million to $10 million. Officials also said they are cutting funding for "navigators," which are outside organizations that help sign people up for insurance.

Navigator groups said the White House's cuts to their funding will almost certainly lower enrollment in the insurance exchanges this year.

The previous grants for navigators expired, and many organizations said they are laying off staff and shutting down until they receive new funding, which may not arrive until the end of September.

“The decision to pull the rug out from these organizations just weeks before open enrollment begins is a clear attempt to undermine the [Affordable Care Act] and create chaos in the insurance market,” the members wrote.

The lawmakers demanded answers to their questions by Sept. 25.