Top Dems blame 'sabotage' as ObamaCare enrollment slows

Top Dems blame 'sabotage' as ObamaCare enrollment slows
© Getty

Top House Democrats are blaming President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA 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 NealFinish the work of building a renewable fuels industry Tlaib blasts Foreign Affairs Committee's anti-BDS bill as 'unconstitutional' Top Republican offers resolution following Trump tax return lawsuit MORE (D-Mass.), Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — White House withdraws controversial rule to eliminate drug rebates | Grassley says deal on drug prices moving 'very soon' | Appeals court declines to halt Trump abortion referral ban MORE (D-N.J.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottA minimum wage is exactly what our economy needs This week: House Democrats voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt CBO report should spike minimum wage legislation 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 For example, 2019 is the first year that the mandate to have coverage will not be in effect, after Republicans repealed it in the tax law last year.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.