Officials roll out 'Obamacare' fixes as repeal remains goal

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration has released limited fixes for shaky Obama-era health insurance markets.

At the same time, officials say the administration remains set on repealing the underlying law that created the markets and now covers millions.

Republicans contend that the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is beyond repair, but their ``repeal and replace'' slogan hasn't yet resulted in legislation that can get through Congress. So the administration is trying to keep the existing system going even as it pursues a total remake.

Thursday's fixes include a shorter enrollment window and curbs on ``special enrollments'' after insurers complained that some people were gaming the system.

However, there was no word from the White House on the fate of billions of dollars in cost-sharing subsidies that are under a legal cloud.

In a related issue, Democrats are up in arms over Trump's threats to deny payments to health insurers under Barack Obama's health care law.

Party leaders want the issue addressed in the current talks on the spending bill to keep the government open. The bill is due at the end of the month.

At issue are cost-sharing payments that low-income people enrolled under the health care law receive to help cover out-of-pocket expenses. Trump has threatened to withhold the payments as a means to force Democrats to negotiate on health care legislation.

Aides to top Democratic leaders say the issue is now at the top of their list of demands.

Democratic votes are likely to be needed to pass the spending bill, giving the party leverage.