Hill Democrats Demand Meeting With Trump’s HHS Over Obamacare Sabotage

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
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The top Democrats on an array of House and Senate committee that deal with health care have fired off a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price demanding a briefing before the end of the month on what the lawmakers call the Trump administration’s “ongoing efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act.”

The letter cites several news investigations—including TPM’s report on HHS abandoning its partnerships with Latino, African American, youth, and women’s groups—and asks the department to immediately explain what it is doing to uphold and promote the Affordable Care Act as the open enrollment period approaches.

“Rather than encouraging enrollment in the Marketplaces, the Administration appears intent on depressing it, which we fear will contribute to destabilizing insurance markets and drive up costs for consumers,” the lawmakers wrote, referencing the Trump administration’s decisions to cut the length of the open enrollment period in half, cancel $22 million in contracts that funded programs at local libraries that assisted people in signing up for insurance, and redirect funds meant for promoting the ACA towards messaging against it.

All these actions, they said, could lead to a significant drop in enrollment this fall, especially among young and healthy people, which will in turn raise insurance rates and destabilize the market.

The letter was signed by Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Richard Neal (D-MA) of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) of the Senate Health Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the Senate Finance Committee, and Bob Casey (D-PA) of the Senate Aging Committee.

Read the full letter below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.
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