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.
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:
- Liberals are generally upset with the deep cuts and charge the Trump administration with yet another attempt to “break ObamaCare.” In other words, liberals are concerned this is an effort to obsturct the Affordable Care Act, help keep enrollments low, and thus create a scenario where the GOP can claim “see, ObamaCare is broken!” (see Trump is setting Obamacare up for failure We have more evidence than ever now. Updated by Sarah [email protected] Sep 5, 2017, 9:00am).
“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.”
- Conservatives generally take the opposite stance, claiming that the advertising and outreach budgets were bloated and not effective. Thus, this is more an attempt to reconstruct healthcare spending than obstruct ObamaCare (see OPINION Good riddance to a wasteful Obamacare promotion budget by Washington Examiner | Sep 5, 2017, 12:01 AM).
“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.