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Advocates call for ObamaCare open enrollment extension after website glitches

Advocates call for ObamaCare open enrollment extension after website glitches
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Democratic lawmakers and health care advocates are calling on the Trump administration to extend the deadline for ObamaCare open enrollment after reports of widespread glitches with the healthcare.gov website.

For the 38 states that use healthcare.gov, Sunday is the last day to sign up for ObamaCare plans for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2020. According to advocacy groups, technical problems with the website have been preventing people from signing up.

“Given that serious technical problems also significantly impacted the first day of Open Enrollment, preventing approximately 100,000 people from signing-up, an extension is critical to make sure all consumers who want to take advantage of the quality, affordable coverage options available at HealthCare.gov are able to do so,” said Joshua Peck, co-founder of Get America Covered who oversaw enrollment efforts for the Obama administration.

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Democratic lawmakers have also been calling for an extension, such as 2020 presidential candidates Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden says he and GOP both 'sincere about' seeking infrastructure compromise The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Colonial pays hackers as service is restored The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden expresses optimism on bipartisanship; Cheney ousted MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren says Republican Party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' Briahna Joy Gray: Warren not endorsing Sanders in 2020 was 'really frustrating' McConnell hits Democratic critics of Israel MORE (D-Mass.), as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Senate Finance Committee to consider clean energy legislation this month Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (D-Ore.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoMore than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Biden-McConnell cold war unlikely to end at White House If you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume MORE (D-Hawaii) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyA historic moment to truly honor mothers Democrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill MORE (D-Pa.).

A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is in charge of healthcare.gov and implementing open enrollment, said the website “remains open for business.”

The agency gave no indication of extending open enrollment, but said any consumers who entered their information before the deadline of 3 a.m. eastern time will be able to sign up for coverage. 

The agency deployed a “waiting room” to help control the flow of traffic, but the spokesperson said the waiting room will only impact a “portion of customers.” Others will be able to enroll without seeing a waiting room.

As of Dec. 7, more than 3.9 million people had signed up for plans, a 6 percent drop compared to a similar time period last year. 

But the last few days of open enrollment typically bring a surge of signups, and Peck said he was concerned that the website was not able to handle the traffic of tens of thousands of people attempting to enroll.