Give them the money! Democrats ask Trump to unfreeze Obamacare’s cash for sign-up helpers

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In this 2015 file photo, a man holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act.

A group of 31 Democratic members of Congress asked Trump administration health officials Tuesday to unfreeze millions of dollars in grants for a program that gives Obamacare customers hands-on help signing up for health insurance.

The letter from the House members came four days after a news story detailed how the administration had “quietly stopped funding for the outreach” effort known as the Navigator program.

And it comes less than two months before the Nov. 1 start of open enrollment in health insurance plans sold on government-run Obamacare marketplaces.

Grants for the Navigator program expired Sept. 1. The Trump administration had said it would spend only $36 million on navigators this year, compared with $63 million spent in the prior 12 months, but groups that participate in the program have said they are not getting any money now, and don’t know if and when any money will be coming to them.

“As of Monday … grantees have received no update on when they should expect to receive this essential funding,” the Democrats wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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