Trump slashes spending for Obamacare ads

Although the administration has not formally studied the effectiveness of the outreach, officials claim it is not cost efficient, saying most of the people likely to sign up already know about the law.
By Ian Marsh | Sep 05, 2017
The Trump administration said Thursday it will drastically reduce the advertising budget of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department said it would cut the advertising budget by 90 percent, to $10 million, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The spending on outreach goes to informing people about the healthcare program, how to enroll, and sign-up deadlines.

Although the administration has not formally studied the effectiveness of the outreach, officials claim it is not cost efficient, saying most of the people likely to sign up already know about the law.

Funding for the "navigator" program, which pays for local organizations to help people choose ACA plans, also will be slashed by 39 percent this year, administration officials said.

Groups that have helped administer Obamacare plans disagree that advertising for the program is not cost effective and say the draconian cuts look like efforts by Trump to let the program die, as he has threatened.

"There's no doubt that cuts to outreach and advertising will result in more people uninsured," said Larry Leavitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research group, in the Bloomberg report.

Reduced enrollment would spell trouble for the Obamacare insurance market that, like other insurance pools, relies on the premiums of healthy people to subsidize the claims paid out to the sick.

"If the health-insurance marketplace ends up with more sicker people relative to healthier people, premiums would rise sending healthier people out of the marketplace and further exacerbating the problem of high costs for everyone," said Sarah Gollust, a health law professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, in an email to Bloomberg.

---

Have something to say? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to the author. You can share ideas for stories by contacting us here.

Comments
Comments should take into account that readers may hold different opinions. With that in mind, please make sure comments are respectful, insightful, and remain focused on the article topic.