Senate Dems want Republicans to fund ACA sign-up aid

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Before open enrollment began for Affordable Health Care plans, Democrats urged the Senate to pass a measure that aims to help people sign up.

The bill, which would restore funding to programs that help people sign up for ACA plans, was passed by the House of Representatives more than five months ago. But Republicans in control of the Senate haven’t called a vote.

“Sen. (Mitch) McConnell, it’s time to pass the Enroll Act. What are you waiting for?” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., demanded of the Senate majority leader in a Thursday press conference. “Families deserve to have help in finding the best health care plan for them.”

She said $100 million is needed to back the groups that help people navigate their insurance options. President Donald Trump’s administration has slashed that funding by more than 80%, a move Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called a ‘dirty trick.’

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., said limited help puts lives at risk.

“Today, more Americans are uninsured than when President Trump took office,” she said at the press conference.

The White House said it is encouraging people to enroll, but many ACA plans aren’t affordable.

“We are administering the program as best we can. We think it’s severely flawed,” said Joe Grogan, the domestic policy director at the White House.

The administration wants the program to be replaced, though there’s been no movement on that front in Congress.

Joshua Peck of Get America Covered, which helps people get insurance, said the administration has its facts wrong.

“Two out of three healthcare.gov customers can find a plan for $10 or less,” Peck said.

He said premiums are down and urged the Senate to pass the Enroll Act to help spread the word.

ACA open enrollment begins Friday and runs through Dec. 15.

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