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 PalloneOvernight 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 This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealHouse Democrats push back on Trump's efforts to take credit for the economy Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week Coalition of conservative groups to air ads against bipartisan proposal to end 'surprise' medical bills MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills To support today's students, Congress must strengthen oversight of colleges Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' MORE (Va.) along with Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life | Officials confirm second US case of coronavirus | Trump officials threaten California funding over abortion law Top health officials brief senators on coronavirus as infections spread Administration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus MORE (Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTax season could bring more refund confusion Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden vows push to force release of Khashoggi assessment 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."