The Trump administration does not plan to release projections for how many people will sign up for ObamaCare, breaking from past years.
The Obama administration used to release a projection for enrollment, which then served as a target goal for the yearly push. But the Trump administration will not be following suit, a Department of Health and Human Services official told The Hill on Wednesday.
Still, the official said the administration does want the coming enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, to run well. Asked if the administration wants the sign-up period to go smoothly, the official said “absolutely.”
Democrats have accused the Trump administration of “sabotaging” ObamaCare, noting moves like cutting the budget for outreach and advertising by 90 percent. President Trump also cut off key payments to insurers after threatening to let the health law “implode.”
Some experts predict that fewer people will sign up for coverage this year, given confusion about the status of the law.
Responding to the accusations of sabotage, HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd pointed to problems the law faced under the previous administration.
“It’s important to remember that Obamacare enrollment was in decline before President Trump took office,” Lloyd wrote in an email.
“The previous administration inflicted heavy damage on the individual market — premiums doubled, insurers dropped out of the individual market in droves, millions of Americans saw their plans cancelled because Washington didn’t approve of them, and millions more paid billions in fines to avoid the kind of coverage Obamacare dictated,” he added. “That’s not evidence of a healthy, competitive market nor one that is best serving individuals and families.”
Still, HHS says that it will still be sending email and text message reminders to people about enrolling, with a new emphasis on pointing out that the enrollment period is shorter than in previous years. The deadline to sign up is Dec. 15.
The HHS official said the messaging will still include information about the tax credits under the law that make coverage more affordable, which was a key message of the Obama administration.
The administration is also releasing a map showing that many counties in the United States will have just one insurer offering ObamaCare coverage, which Republicans say shows a lack of choice under the law.
The messages will also encourage people to actively choose a new insurance plan, rather than wait to be automatically re-enrolled, the official said.
“Window shopping” on healthcare.gov also began on Wednesday, which allows people to browse plans before the sign-up period begins Nov. 1.