Trump admin cuts funding to program that aids ACA enrollment

In another act of sabotage Trump slashes Obamacare outreach funding to the bone

"The Trump administration's suspension of risk adjustment payments is just the latest attempt to undermine health care for millions of consumers across the country, including about 270,000 people enrolled in Washington state's individual market".

It also said last year's cuts had minimal impact, as year-over-year enrollment dipped slightly, to 11.8 million from 12.2 million, and that navigators enrolled less than 1 percent of HealthCare.gov customers overall.

Two health insurers in CT,

Since then, the Department of Labor has issued a rule to broaden the use of one such kind of insurance, called "association health plans".

The president last fall also issued an executive order to try to make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy health plans that cost less than ACA coverage because they cover fewer medical services and bypass the law's rules meant to protect people from old insurance practices in which companies had charged higher prices to women, older people, and those with preexisting medical conditions.

Signaling the administration's long-term objectives, Andrew Bremberg, who oversees domestic policy at the White House, told reporters a year ago, "The president still firmly believes that Congress must act to repeal and replace Obamacare, but before that can be done, this administration must act to provide relief".

In past years, CMS announced funding opportunities in April and required navigator groups to apply for grants by mid-June.

CareSource, which will offer insurance in 79 of Indiana's 92 counties in 2019, would have gone from being a net receiver of money from the pool to paying about $16 million a year to other insurers - that is, until the freeze went into effect.

CMS will provide a minimum of $100,000 in each of the states that operate a federally-facilitated exchange (FFE).

The most radical plan drafted by congressional Republicans last year-known as the Graham-Cassidy bill after two of its authors, Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)-would basically eliminate the ACA's private insurance marketplaces as well as Medicaid expansion, replacing them with lower-funded state block grants with few strings attached. These limited benefit plans will compete directly with the comprehensive insurance on the exchanges, and navigators will be forced to sell consumers on them.

CMS stopped the payments after a federal court found the formula used to calculate them flawed earlier this year. In North Carolina, which has consistently had the nation's highest enrollments, the navigator budget will be cut by 85 percent - from $3.4 million to $500,000.

As for the priority given to applicants that help spread the word about non-ACA health plans, Edwards said: "It's inappropriate. It is not the bailiwick of community organizations" that are expressly forbidden under the navigator program's rules to recommend any particular health plans. It's a smaller pot of money with more competitors. It listed "chambers of commerce, small businesses, trade associations, and faith-based organizations".

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