The Trump administration is planning hours-long downtimes for upkeep on healthcare.gov in the course of the coming ObamaCare sign-up interval.
The administration drew criticism for a similar move last year from advocates who stated the downtime would hinder efforts to signal folks up for protection, however the administration counters that upkeep downtime occurs yearly and is designed to happen in the course of the slowest durations on the location.
The upkeep schedule is identical as final yr, the federal Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies stated Tuesday, which means healthcare.gov is scheduled to be offline for upkeep from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Sunday in the course of the sign-up interval, aside from the ultimate Sunday, for a complete of 60 hours of downtime.
Officers stated that’s the most doable downtime, and stated final yr the precise downtime was considerably lower than what was scheduled, at 21.5 hours out of a scheduled 60.
“Upkeep home windows are commonly scheduled on healthcare.gov yearly throughout Open Enrollment,” a CMS spokesperson stated.
“Common scheduled upkeep will proceed to be deliberate for the lowest-traffic time durations on healthcare.gov, together with Sunday mornings,” the spokesperson added. “Final yr, healthcare.gov was down for considerably lower than the total period of time initially licensed.”
CMS stated there have been 53.5 hours of upkeep downtime on Sunday mornings on the finish of 2016, beneath the Obama administration.
The approaching sign-up interval, for 2019 protection, runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.
“CMS is clearly at pains to offer assurances of its benign intent on this upkeep schedule,” stated Eliot Fishman, senior director of well being coverage on the liberal health-care advocacy group Households USA. “However with the President persevering with to commonly brag about gutting the ACA and with the Administration refusing to defend the regulation in courtroom, there’s cause to be involved a few schedule that takes the federal market down for lengthy stretches over weekends throughout vacation season. We’ll be watching this intently.”
Any announcement on the Trump administration’s plans for ObamaCare sign-ups attracts scrutiny. Democrats have lengthy accused the administration of “sabotaging” the regulation.
For instance, the Trump administration last year cut the advertising budget to encourage folks to enroll by 90 %, a transfer that Democrats shortly criticized saying it will considerably hinder the variety of folks enrolling.