Trump Officials Plan Obamacare Site Shutdowns During Open Enrollment

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The Trump management plans to take the site offline for hours at a time for repairs right through the approaching Obamacare enrollment season, The Hill reported on Tuesday.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — which used to be harshly criticized final yr for the same transfer — insists the upkeep downtime happens once a year and can happen right through the “lowest-traffic” classes for as little time as imaginable.

Healthcare advocacy teams, alternatively, query whether or not the management is making an attempt to forestall other people from signing up for Obamacare, formally referred to as the Affordable Care Act. Since the ACA passage in 2010, Republicans have many times attempted — and failed — to repeal it, and feature plotted to sabotage it with administrative schemes.

“CMS is clearly at pains to provide assurances of its benign intent in this maintenance schedule,” Eliot Fishman, senior director of well being coverage on the well being advocacy crew Families USA, instructed The Hill. “But with the President continuing to regularly brag about gutting the ACA and with the Administration refusing to defend the law in court, there is reason to be concerned about a schedule that takes the federal marketplace down for long stretches over weekends during holiday season. We’ll be watching this closely.” 

The Trump management used to be criticized final yr for scheduling almost-weekly repairs of the web site right through the Obamacare enrollment duration.

“I could see this really impacting the ability of people to complete an application sign-up in a single sitting, which is so important,” Jason Stevenson of the Utah Health Policy Project, an Obamacare navigator crew, instructed CNN on the time.  

Lori Lodes, who served as a communications director of CMS right through the Obama management, additionally expressed worry on the massive chunks of downtime being scheduled. 

“There is just a really big question as to why this is happening,” Lodes instructed Kaiser Health News final yr. “Have they done a comprehensive review of the tech and believe this is what is actually necessary? If so, then why don’t they have confidence in the system.”

Maintenance outages additionally passed off beneath the Obama management, in line with CNN, however “they weren’t as frequent.”

“Typically, the online enrollment system was only shut down for a few hours at a time and it was much less frequent than once a week,” CNN reported in September 2017, mentioning former officers. 

Fact-checking web site identified final yr that the Trump management slashed the Obamacare open enrollment duration by way of greater than part, from 3 months to 6 weeks, so the downtime consumes extra of the enrollment duration.

This yr’s repairs outage agenda is reportedly the similar as final yr’s: 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. each Sunday, with the exception of for the final Sunday, right through the sign-up duration. The general scheduled downtime this yr ― because it used to be final yr ― is 60 hours.

The enrollment window for 2019 protection will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

The web site may just finally end up being offline for a long way lower than the scheduled downtime, a CMS spokesperson instructed The Hill. The exact downtime final yr used to be 21.five hours and “there were 53.5 hours of maintenance downtime on Sunday mornings at the end of 2016, under the Obama administration,” the CMS spokesperson stated.

CMS has no longer replied to HuffPost’s request for info. 

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