Democrats press Trump officials over drop in ObamaCare signups amid website problems

Democrats press Trump officials over drop in ObamaCare signups amid website problems

Congressional Democrats are pressing the Trump administration for answers on ObamaCare sign-ups, pointing to a dip in enrollment due to technical problems with the healthcare.gov website.

The lawmakers pointed to an analysis from the group Get America Covered, run by former Obama administration health officials, which found that as many as 100,000 fewer people signed up on the first day of ObamaCare enrollment this year due to technical problems with healthcare.gov. 

“We are very concerned these errors may have prevented some consumers from completing their enrollments as intended during an already abbreviated Open Enrollment Period and created further barriers for people to access health coverage,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter

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“Additionally, we are seeking assurances that these errors have been resolved so that consumers do not continue to encounter problems through the rest of the Open Enrollment Period, scheduled to end on December 15,” they added. 

There are also broader concerns among Democrats about lower ObamaCare enrollment in the enrollment period so far, which began Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15. 

Joshua Peck, a co-founder of Get America Covered, wrote on Twitter Wednesday that sign-ups are down 13 percent compared to this point last year. 

The final numbers will not be available until after the sign-up period ends in December. 

The letter Thursday was signed by the Democratic chairmen and ranking members of the health committees in the House and Senate: Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PallonePharma execs say FDA will not lower standards for coronavirus vaccine Dem chairmen urge CMS to prevent nursing homes from seizing stimulus payments Federal watchdog finds cybersecurity vulnerabilities in FCC systems MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealConservatives urge Trump to take unilateral action to suspend payroll tax collection Treasury to conduct policy review of tax-exempt status for universities after Trump tweets Stimulus checks debate now focuses on size, eligibility MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottPelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive Overnight Health Care: White House blocks CDC director from testifying before House panel | Fauci urges action on masks | Administration document says counties in 'red zone' should close bars, gyms White House blocks CDC director from testifying before House panel on reopening schools MORE (Va.) along with Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic GOP, Democratic relief packages B apart on vaccine funding MORE (Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenFrustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal On The Money: Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock | Meadows, Pelosi trade criticism on stalled stimulus talks | Coronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock MORE (Ore.). 

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The lawmakers said they are worried the technical issues could return if the volume of traffic on the site surges again. 

They asked for answers about the steps the Trump administration is taking to address the issue by Dec. 2.

A spokesperson for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said in response that on the first day of open enrollment, "some consumers received error messages, which were addressed that day."

"Normal operations continued throughout that weekend and throughout the first two weeks of Open Enrollment," the spokesperson said. "As always, we will continue to closely monitor system performance throughout Open Enrollment and make adjustments as necessary."