Although President Donald Trump is waiting for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he’s taking steps now to make it more difficult for Americans to access it.
According to Politico, the Department of Health and Human Services has stopped all outreach efforts — including television advertisements and e-mail campaigns aimed at encouraging Americans to enroll in Obamacare plans.
While President Obama was still in office, his administration paid for the advertising. However, the Trump administration canceled the first installment of roughly $5 million in order to reportedly “look for efficiencies where they exist.”
These advertising campaigns exist to educate the public about what options are available to them for healthcare coverage through Obamacare. Without them, it is difficult to disseminate this information to people in a way that is easily accessible to them. With the open enrollment period ending on January 31st, Trump’s timing could not be more detrimental. Plan signups have typically surged just days before the deadline in the past.
According to the Huffington Post, the percentage of 18 to 34 year olds signing up for healthcare coverage increased with time during 2016 open enrollment.
Trump’s decision to stop the advertisement funding came shortly after he reiterated his support for repealing the ACA to Republican lawmakers, saying that Obamacare is collapsing because insurance companies have been losing money and raising prices. However, Trump’s claim could not be more untrue.