Democrats want the Trump administration to answer why it plans to take healthcare.gov offline during Obamacare's truncated open enrollment this year.
Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday seeking information on scheduled outages on the website. Currently, residents in 39 states and the District of Columbia use healthcare.gov to buy Obamacare plans.
The letter was sent after the Trump administration announced this month it would conduct maintenance outages on the website from midnight to noon Eastern Standard Time on all but one Sunday during open enrollment. Democrats were skeptical of the outages.
"The department has had this entire year to conduct routine maintenance without any disruption to people seeking to purchase healthcare plans," the letter said.
Democrats have repeatedly accused the Trump administration of attempting to sabotage the open enrollment period, which was slashed in half for the 2018 coverage year compared to 2017.
Open enrollment will run Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 this year, about six weeks earlier than in 2017.
President Trump has repeatedly said that the best thing would be to let Obamacare implode, which will create a larger impetus for Obamacare repeal.
Democrats have chided HHS for deciding to cut funding for Obamacare ads by 90 percent from $100 million for the 2017 open enrollment to $10 million for 2018. HHS has responded that more ad funding isn't needed because this is the fifth open enrollment and awareness is already high.
"Unfortunately in addition to undermining the ACA, the Trump administration's recent actions may harm many Americans who are seeking to obtain health insurance to protect themselves and their families," the letter said.
Cummings and Krishnamoorthi asked HHS for information on the technical issues warranting the outages, when plan selections were made for the 2015 and 2016 open enrollment, and how the decision was made to shut down the site on Sundays.
Cummings is ranking member of the House Oversight Committee and Krishnamoorthi ranking member of its subcommittee on healthcare.