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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi

Representing the 8th District of Illinois

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi Continues Investigation Into HealthCare.Gov Shut Downs With Letter To Acting Secretary Of Health And Human Services

November 3, 2017
Press Release
"The Trump administration needs to make clear whether or not it wants to help Americans get health coverage"

SCHAUMBURG, IL – Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of the House Oversight Committee today called upon Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Hargan to provide additional information regarding the Trump administration’s unprecedented plan of shutting down HealthCare.Gov for 12 hours each Sunday during the open enrollment period, a policy which could make it harder for millions of Americans to sign up for health insurance. Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s letter to Acting Secretary Hargan on the Trump Administration’s dramatic policy shift follows the Congressman’s November 3rd briefing by HHS officials and his September 29th letter with House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings on the same issue. As a follow-up to the November 3rd briefing, Congressman Krishnamoorthi requested information on how many Americans will be impacted by the decision to shut down the website for 12 hours each week, the response of the public to the announced outages, and how the decision was made to effectively reduce the open enrollment period for HealthCare.Gov users by days through these purported maintenance efforts.

“Enormous questions remain around the Trump Administration’s decision to shut down HealthCare.Gov for 12 hours each Sunday at the very time when Americans are using it to sign up for health insurance,” said Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. “We need to understand why this decision was made and just how many people it will hurt and that is why I’ve made these requests of Acting Secretary Hargan. The Trump administration needs to make clear whether or not it wants to help Americans get health coverage. ”

Congressman Krishnamoorthi's letter is viewable here and its text follows.

 

The Honorable Eric Hargan

Acting Secretary

Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20201

 

Dear Acting Secretary Hargan,

 

This letter is a follow-up to the letter Ranking Member Cummings and I sent you on September 29 regarding the planned maintenance and website shut-downs of HealthCare.Gov during the 2017 open enrollment period.

Our letter asked for several documents, which the Department of Health and Human Services has yet to provide. In a phone call with HHS Staff on Friday November 3, I reiterated my request for the below documents, and requested their production within one week:

  1. All documents and communications referring or relating to the decision to shut down the website during parts of this year’s open enrollment period;
  2. All documents and communications, including internal or external estimates or analyses, referring or relating to the extent to which reduced outreach funding, the shorter open enrollment period, and scheduled outages may affect the number of people who enroll during this year’s open enrollment period; and
  3. All communications referring or relating to extending the December 15 deadline if enrollment decreases due to the scheduled outages.

In our November 3 phone call, I requested several additional documents and information, which will aid in my understanding of the decision to shut down the website during open enrollment:

  1. The date it was decided to cut the open enrollment period in half for the 2017 open enrollment period;
  2. The date it was decided to schedule the website downtime for the 2017 open enrollment period;
  3. Details of website traffic patterns during prior open enrollment periods;
  4. Details of website traffic patterns outside of open enrollment periods;
  5. Times that downtime was scheduled during prior open enrollment periods;
  6. Number of plans selected per day during prior open enrollment periods;
  7. How often website downtime is scheduled outside of open enrollment;
  8. The amount of unscheduled downtime during prior open enrollment periods;
  9. All documents relating to the decision not to create a public feedback system for customers who are frustrated by this downtime;
  10. Any letters or emails from people unable to enroll in health plans due to website downtime;
  11. All documents related to the IRS’s request to increase the downtime for the 2017 open enrollment period; and
  1. The date the original letter of September 29 was shared with CMS.

Please provide these materials within one week. Thank you for your prompt attention to these matters.

 

Sincerely,

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Member of Congress