Trump Administration Cuts Funding For Outreach Groups That Help People Sign Up For Obamacare
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump‘s administration made yet another move toward weakening Obamacare, his predecessor’s signature healthcare act.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — which run health insurance exchanges — announced that it would cut funds for organizations that assist Americans in looking for medical coverage plans. These groups will thus likely need to end up rolling back some of their services, firing staffers and helping fewer people. Many Americans who are most in need of Affordable Care Act coverage, like people with pre-existing conditions, could be included among those who ultimately receive less assistance because of this reduction in funding.
According to the HuffPost, nonprofit groups that the U.S. Government pays to assist with enrollment in states that utilize HealthCare.gov as their main online marketplace for Americans seeking coverage via the ACA could also be severely hurt by this development. It was reported that only about $10 million in funds will be available to these organizations, referred to by some as “navigators,” in 2019. This year, $37 million in funds were made available for these groups, while these organizations received $63 million in funding last year.
Outreach groups will also likely start suggesting that consumers enroll in healthcare plans that provide fewer treatment options and even less essential benefits like prescription medications, or short-term plans that couldn’t help people with pre-existing conditions.
The Trump Administration’s renewed effort to undermine Obamacare is projected by medical experts to further increase premiums next year. The administration’s recent announcement that it would slash millions of dollars in payments owed to insurers also suggests higher premiums are to come.
Earlier this year, Trump also revealed that $7 billion in funding would be cut for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which around nine million children rely on. Additionally, the Republican-led Congress repealed tax penalties linked to the individual mandate created as part of the ACA.
Many states and Democratic candidates have also pushed for healthcare proposals like Medicaid expansions to be added to the ballot in November’s midterm elections.