Scheduled Site Maintenance During Open Enrollment Period is Latest Act of Trump-GOP Health Care Sabotage  

Washington, D.C. – The upcoming open enrollment period will share certain features of last year’s: a drastically shortened schedule, deep cuts to marketing and outreach budgets, and – according to media reports from today – the Trump administration will again be shutting down HealthCare.gov on the first day of open enrollment, as well as five out of the six Sundays during the upcoming open enrollment period (November 1, 2018 through December 15, 2018). In total, HealthCare.gov – which is used by millions of people in 38 states – will be down for more than three full days during a truncated open enrollment period. In response, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

 

“There can be no doubt that the Trump Administration literally wants to stand in between people and the health care coverage they need, since they are once again purposely shutting down the website people need to use to sign up for coverage at the very time when they need it most. This cynical move comes after the Trump Administration cut the open enrollment period in half, slashed advertising by ninety percent, exacted drastic cuts to the Navigator program all while asking them to be mouthpieces for junk insurance plans. It’s shameful.”

 

HERE ARE ALL THE WAYS THE GOP HAS SABOTAGED OPEN ENROLLMENT

 

  • In July, the Trump Administration slashed funding for non-profit health navigator groups that help people shop for coverage, from $36 million to $10 million. CMS encourages groups to use the remaining funds to push people to sign up for junk plans that skirt important consumer protections.
  • In April, the Trump Administration limited access to assistance for consumers who want to enroll in marketplace coverage. This change removed the requirement that every area has at least two “navigator” groups to provide consumer assistance and that one be local. Now, just one group could cover entire states or groups of states.
  • In October 2017, The Trump Administration dramatically cut in-person assistance to help people sign up for 2018 health coverage.
  • Last September, the Administration ordered the Department of Health and Human Services’ regional directors to stop participating in Open Enrollment events. Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director Roy Mitchell said, “I didn’t call it sabotage…But that’s what it is.”
  • Last August, the Administration cut the outreach advertising budget for Open Enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million.
  • Last July,the Trump Administration used funding intended to support health insurance enrollment to launch a multimedia propaganda campaign against the Affordable Care Act.
  • In April 2017, the Trump Administration cut the number of days people could sign up for coverage during open enrollment by half, from 90 days to 45 days.
  • On Trump’s first day in office, the Department of Health and Human Services began to remove information on how to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.
  • Also in January 2017, the Trump Administration pulled funding for outreach and advertising for the final days of 2017 enrollment. This move is estimated to have reduced enrollment by nearly 500,000.