Senate Dems demand investigation into ObamaCare website shutdowns

A group of Senate Democrats on Wednesday called for an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to periodically shut down the federal ObamaCare exchange website in the middle of the next open enrollment period.

Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.) asked the Department of Health and Human Services’s inspector general to investigate plans for hours-long maintenance shutdowns of the website.

“There has been no satisfactory explanation given for why these shutdowns are necessary, and they appear to be part of a pattern by the Trump administration to sabotage the Affordable Care Act,” the senators wrote in a letter to the inspector general’s office.

{mosads}Department officials said the website will be shut down for maintenance from midnight until noon almost every Sunday during the next ObamaCare open enrollment period, which lasts from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, as well as overnight on the first day of the enrollment period.

The senators said they are concerned the shutdowns will make it even more difficult to sign up for insurance during the enrollment period.

In a separate letter, the Democratic senators demanded answers from the administration about why the scheduled shutdowns were deemed necessary and how they will impact Americans trying to access

A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said last week that the maintenance periods were planned ahead of time and were “no different” from previous years. 

“System downtime is planned for the lowest-traffic time periods on including Sunday evenings and overnight,” the spokesperson said.

On Wednesday, Senate Democrats called on the CMS to extend open enrollment to Jan. 31.

“Extending the deadline on will ensure that consumers in states that utilize the federal platform will also have more time to navigate the marketplace and enroll in a plan that best suits their needs,” the senators wrote.  

Tags Brian Schatz Chris Murphy Cory Booker Elizabeth Warren
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