Trump Administration Cuts Affordable Care Act Advertising and Outreach Funding

The Trump administration cut ObamaCare’s advertising and outreach budget sharply this year. Ad funding was reduced from $100 million to $10 million. Meanwhile, in-person outreach funding was reduced from $62.5 million to $36 million.[1][2]

What that means is straight forward, it means less funding to spread awareness about enrolling in health insurance with cost assistance, be it Medicaid expansion coverage or cost assisted coverage through the exchanges.

The reasoning and implications behind the actions are far less forward. Here are two perspectives:

“Trump administration officials offered flimsy justifications for the budget cuts. Public awareness is already high, they said, in making the case for a 90 percent reduction in advertising — ignoring data suggesting that 40 percent of the remaining uninsured are unaware of the marketplace and its enrollment period.”

– VOX

“Obamacare’s advertising budget was actually doubled last year from $51.2 million in 2015 to about $100 million in 2016. For all that extra spending, enrollments on HealthCare.gov actually fell modestly from 9.6 to 9.2 million. Though liberals would like to attribute this disappointment to the Trump’s decision to halt advertising in the last week of open enrollment in January just after he was sworn into office, that affected just $5 million in ads in a $100 million budget. It would be hard to argue that this made anything more than a marginal difference in the enrollment picture.”

– Washington Examiner

In other words the who, what, where, when, and how are simple: That is, Trump administration is cutting back the open enrollment ObamaCare advertising budget by 90% and outreach budget by about half for open enrollment 2018. However, the why is as complex as politics itself.

Citations

  1. CMS Cuts ACA Advertising By 90 Percent Amid Other Cuts To Enrollment Outreach Timothy Jost August 31, 2017
  2. Trump is setting Obamacare up for failure We have more evidence than ever now. Updated by Sarah Kliffsarah@vox.com Sep 5, 2017, 9:00am EDT

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