Trump Administration Slashes Obamacare Outreach Funding, Halves Open Enrollment Period

Image via AP.
Image via AP.

Having failed to pass a new form of health care, the Trump administration is taking steps to make good on its word to let Obamacare wither and die, beginning with slashing outreach efforts for its upcoming enrollment season by 90 percent and shrinking the enrollment period by half.


In hard figures, this means that funds for Obamacare advertising will plummet from $100 million to $10 million, along with cuts of 41 percent to the in-person enrollment program.

“Judging effectiveness by the amount of money spent and not the results achieved is irresponsible and unhelpful to the American people,” Caitlin Oakley, a Health and Human Services spokeswoman, said in a statement. Most people, administration officials claimed, already know about the Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare advocates emphatically disagree.

“The surest way to kill the exchanges is to keep them a secret,” Timothy Jost, a consumer advocate at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, told Vox. “Sick people will find them, but getting younger and healthier people enrolled is the problem.”

“The Trump administration is deliberately attempting to sabotage our health care system,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “When the number of people with health insurance declines and costs skyrocket, the American people will know who’s to blame.”

The decision will disproportionately impact the 39 states that use the federal enrollment site, since they’re more reliant on federal funds and outreach than the other 11 states that operate their own exchanges on their own budgets, Politico points out. California, for one, has proposed spending more than $100 million on spreading the message.


In case it wasn’t obvious that Trump is more than happy to kill his constituents to make his point, the administration is also cutting the enrollment period in half, reducing it from three months to just six weeks. Andy Slavitt, former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Obama, posits that the reason for shrinking the window is likely so that the administration can announce lower enrollment.

“At least, that appears to be their hope. If that’s their objective, I’m sure they can achieve it,” he said. States who operate their own exchanges—including California, Minnesota and Colorado—extended their enrollment period to January, but those that rely on will have only until December 15.


The Trump administration will continue to run ads on various media platforms via texts and electronic communications, HHS officials said. Cuts will be made primarily to “navigators,” who previously got $62.5 million to shepherd enrollees through the sign-up process.

Hear this now, since you may not as much as you should: The next Obamacare open enrollment period begins November 1.



Hi, fam. I apologise for this off-topic post but it may be appropriate for the Slot at any rate. As climate change intensifies, we cannot just sit back and hope it doesn’t happen near us. The extreme incidents are gaining momentum, and right now, where I live, the air is unbreathable due to the heavy blanket of smoke from the California wildfires. It isn’t Houston by any stretch of the imagination and I do not mean to compare it thereto. But it does remind me that climate change is upending us all.

I live close enough to the Bay that we have, for decades, fooled ourselves into thinking that we are semi-untouchable (by fire; many people are more cognizant of earthquakes). We are not. The fires are getting ever-closer. So, instead of putting together an evacuation kit, I thought (for a change) that I’d procrastinate a little further and post on Jezebel. With this question:

Do you have an evacuation kit? And what do you have in it?

This will differ depending on your life circumstances (householder; renter; single; family, etc.)

I’m a renter and single, so mine so far is fairly straightforward? Wallet, keys, make sure there is always (at least) a half tank of gas (if one has a car); water and canned food? Also, I think it is time to radically clean out the storage area, and the trunk of the car, so that, in case of emergency, that is free and open space for the latter and so that I might find what I need as to the former. Perhaps the boxes of photographs.

I need to clean up and clean out, but wondering. Do you all have emergency supplies, evacuation readiness? How do you feel you would fare in case of an emergency evacuation order? Are you prepared for extreme weather events in your area? These are no longer isolated events, and nor can we project that it only happens in other places. Climate change is upon us all, now.

And anyone who can contribute to disaster relief funds, please do. I was going to post the Red Cross’ stats but they seem to be fending off a load of criticism at the moment, so I will search for something better. Anyone who has this information, feel free to add!

I’m hoping that any information we post will be helpful to the collective.