Top Dems blame 'sabotage' as ObamaCare enrollment slows

Top Dems blame 'sabotage' as ObamaCare enrollment slows
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Top House Democrats are blaming President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE for ObamaCare signup numbers that so far are lower than last year.

"While there are still two weeks remaining in Open Enrollment, these lagging numbers show that Republicans' sabotage of our nation's health care system is working,” said Reps. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealHouse Democrats' bill would create a second round of direct coronavirus relief payments Lawmakers question why dead people are getting coronavirus checks Congress, Treasury tussle over IRS guidance on .2T COVID-19 package MORE (D-Mass.), Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneFederal watchdog finds cybersecurity vulnerabilities in FCC systems Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills MORE (D-N.J.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottUnions worry Congress is one step closer to a liability shield Victim advocacy groups, Democratic lawmakers slam new campus sexual assault policies Abortion battle threatens to upend health insurance push MORE (D-Va.), the incoming chairmen of the three committees overseeing the Affordable Care Act.

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The Trump administration announced earlier Wednesday that 500,437 people signed up for ObamaCare coverage in the fourth week of the sign-up period, which ends Dec. 15.

Compared to this point last year, sign-ups are running about 11 percent lower, according to ObamaCare numbers analyst Charles Gaba. The full picture will not be clear until after Dec. 15. 

Experts say that actions taken by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans will reduce enrollment, though the extent remains to be seen. For example, 2019 is the first year that the mandate to have coverage will not be in effect, after Republicans repealed it in the tax law last year.

Trump has also opened up cheaper, leaner “short-term” health insurance plans that are expected to siphon some people away from ObamaCare plans.

The administration also again slashed funding for outreach to encourage people to sign up.

“The Trump Administration has starved the program intended to help families get covered by refusing to make congressionally-required investments in outreach and enrollment,” the Democrats said. “And the administration's promotion of inadequate coverage options, like short-term health plans, has led to cost increases for Americans, particularly those with preexisting conditions.”

The administration denies claims that it has sabotaged the law, saying that it has simply sought to open up less costly options for other plans for people to enroll in and to make outreach operations more efficient.