The Trump team is taking the healthcare.gov site offline during the annual signup period — a stunt they have already tried, and failed, to use to reduce health care signups.
After Republicans repeatedly failed to repeal Obamacare, the Trump administration started trying to sabotage the popular health care law in any way it could.
But Team Trump's latest stunt is one they have already tried, and failed, to use to keep people from signing up for health care: shutting down the signup website for 12 hours every Sunday for "maintenance."
From Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, during the open enrollment period for those needing coverage in 2019, the administration has scheduled maintenance that will take the crucial healthcare.gov website offline from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Sunday.
For many Americans, weekends are the only time they have to sit down and figure out their health care. Making the government's insurance exchange portal unavailable for half of every Sunday might prevent some citizens from signing up for affordable health care plans.
The administration pulled this same stunt last year, taking the healthcare.gov website offline for 12 hours on Sundays during the open enrollment period.
But that attempt failed. Visits to the website during the open enrollment period for 2018 coverage actually increased compared to the previous year.
Trump also tried to sabotage the health care system by eliminating certain subsidies for coverage. He did this even though the assistance for low- and middle-income earners disproportionately went to states Trump won in 2016.
That didn't really work either.
At the end of the year, the government reported that 11.8 million Americans signed up for 2018 health care exchange plans during the open enrollment period, just a slight dip from the 12.2 million who signed up for 2017 plans.
Ever since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Republicans have pushed to repeal it without concern for the millions of Americans who would suffer as a result.
The GOP efforts under Trump to repeal the law and replace it, with a much worse alternative that would have stripped health coverage from millions, came up short.
Yet Republicans remain fixated on sabotaging Americans' access to affordable health care. And even if their sabotage efforts don't work, they're always willing to try again.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.