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 TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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 NealRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language House votes to boost retirement savings Steyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess MORE (D-Mass.), Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-N.J.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDem lawmaker says 'adversity score' shows debate over 'usefulness' of SAT is 'not over' CBC member brushes off Biden's past opposition to school busing Dem lawmaker says U.S. has 'drifted backwards' on school integration MORE (D-Va.), the incoming chairmen of the three committees overseeing the Affordable Care Act.

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 For example, 2019 is the first year that the mandate to have coverage will not be in effect, after Republicans repealed it in the tax law last year.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.