HHS Cuts 90 Percent of Obamacare Advertising Budget

Lauretta  Brown
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Posted: Aug 31, 2017 7:10 PM
HHS Cuts 90 Percent of Obamacare Advertising Budget

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday that they will spend $10 million on advertising for the upcoming November Obamacare enrollment period. This is 90 percent less than the $100 million the Obama administration spent on advertising enrollment last year.

“A healthcare system that has caused premiums to double and left nearly half of our counties with only one coverage option is not working,” Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement regarding the change. “The Trump administration is determined to serve the American people instead of trying to sell them a bad deal.”

The announcement also said that the department would be cutting funds to “navigators” who assist people in their ACA enrollment.

“During the most recent open enrollment period, Navigators received over $62.5 million in federal grants while enrolling 81,426 individuals,” the announcement points out.

“For the upcoming enrollment period,” HHS says, “Navigator grantees will receive funding based on their ability to meet their enrollment goals during the previous year. For example, a grantee that achieved 100 percent of its enrollment goal for plan year 2017 will receive the same level of funding as last year, while a grantee that enrolled only 70 percent of its enrollment goal would receive 70 percent of its previous year funding level, a reduction of 30 percent. The new funding formula will ensure accountability within the Navigator program.”

HHS emphasized that last year only one in five navigators met their own performance goals and 17 programs enrolled fewer than 100 people each. They added that one program got $200,000 and signed up only one person.

The announcement met with backlash from many Democrats and liberal organizations, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Planned Parenthood.