Consumer advocates cry foul as Trump administration makes drastic cuts to health care advertising

by: Jacqueline Fell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump administration is making drastic cuts in promotions that help people sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The advertising fund was slashed from $100 million to $10 million leading up to the 2018 open enrollment period.

That fund goes toward programs that promote when and how to sign up for Obamacare.

A spokeswoman for health and human services says they are trying to be cost-conscious, but consumer advocates say it’s sabotage.

“They’re actively trying to make the law fail,” said a Families USA spokesperson.

According to their website, “Families USA is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

They say given all the health care debate on Capitol Hill over the summer, now is not the time to scale back informational ads.

“There’s a lot of confusion going around, and so this year is really important for consumers to know about when they can enroll and the fact that financial assistance is still available,” a spokesperson said.

Advocates who help people sign up for health insurance and figure out the best plan are called navigators. Their finding is also facing cuts this year.

Grants for navigators and groups that assist with enrollment will see 40 percent cuts.

The administration says it is funding navigators based on how well they fared in hitting enrollment targets the previous year.

Experts who support the Affordable Care Act say cutting the advertising budget will also drive up premiums, because healthy people won’t sign up.

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