Healthcare

No plans for Trump to cut ObamaCare call center staff

The Trump administration is not planning to cut workers at ObamaCare's call center, a key part of signing people up for coverage, according to a spokesperson.

"Last year our peak call center staffing was 11,000 during Open Enrollment. We are currently anticipating having the same amount this year as well," a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees ObamaCare, told The Hill.

ObamaCare supporters, pointing to other signs that the Trump administration is "sabotaging" the health-care law, had worried that cuts to the call center might be next. The phone representatives help people enroll in coverage and can answer questions when problems arise in the application process.

Some Affordable Care Act backers, as well as insurers, said that having the call center well staffed is one of the most important parts of the enrollment process.

Still, the statement leaves the door open a crack for the administration to change course, noting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is "currently anticipating" keeping the call center at the same staffing levels.

In other areas, Democrats warn the Trump administration is undermining enrollment by slashing funds for advertising and other outreach by 90 percent. The administration has also cut funds to outside groups that help people sign up and cut in half the length of the enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1.

President Trump has also threatened to cut off key payments to insurers in a bid to make ObamaCare "implode," though he has not done so yet.

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