Today, President Trump’s HHS Department announced that it will dramatically cut Affordable Care Act outreach and marketing efforts by 90% for 2018. The federal government plans to reduce advertising spending from $100 million to just $10 million, and reduce funding for navigator and enrollment assisters from $63 million to $36 million.
President Trump is seeking to sabotage the ACA with his own hand, first by injecting uncertainty into subsidy payments, shortening open enrollment, and now by deliberately and maliciously slashing funding for marketing and outreach efforts. These Trump attacks serve no purpose other than to discourage enrollment and thus increase premiums unnecessarily for those who are covered.
Earlier this month, Covered California took action to withstand such attacks by increasing it’s marketing budget by $5 million, for a total of $111 million, to provide additional outreach and help to consumers.
We are proud that California has the will and the wherewithal to withstand these attacks—if and only if the basic framework and financing of the ACA is intact.
- When the Trump Administration slashes and sabotages marketing efforts, Covered California has the ability to raise its own money to ensure robust outreach and enrollment effort. The more people are enrolled, the more the risk and cost of care is spread, helping make premiums more affordable. It’s in every Californian’s interest to get more of our neighbors signed up and covered.
- When the Trump Administration put forward regulations such as cutting the open enrollment period in half, California law can maintain our policies, including keeping a 12-week sign-up period. We strongly support the new legislation to align with the federal government’s schedule but ensure a full 12-week open enrollment, rather than cut the opportunity for Californians to sign up in half, to six weeks.
- When the Trump Administration seeks to withhold already-budget cost sharing reduction subsidies, Covered California has come up with a workaround to shield most consumers from the resulting premium hikes.
California should continue to act to protect consumers from these attacks to their health care access and its affordability. It’s a shame that we need state agencies and policymakers to act to make up for the sabotage by our own federal government. By increasing their own marketing funding, Covered California will continue to ensure that people know about their health care coverage options and have plenty of time to actively shop and compare for the option that is best for them.