Commentary: Washington D.C - With the release of a bulletin today slashing millions of dollars in grants to navigators and outreach funds in the federal marketplace, President Trump continues his efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - this time taking aim at the individuals and organizations who toil on the front lines helping consumers enroll in health insurance coverage. President Trump and his administration have taken these actions, in spite of the nearly 80 percent of Americans urging him to make the current health care law work.
Navigators have been integral to the successful enrollment of millions in health insurance coverage, reducing the numbers of uninsured individuals in 2016 to historic lows. Without sufficient funding, grantees will likely lay off staff, shorten operating hours, and reduce the number of locations at which they provide services.
Managing Attorney of the DC office Mara Youdelman said “This is yet another cynical attempt by the current administration to sabotage the ACA. After shortening the open enrollment period for this year and cutting funding to entities supporting assisters, the administration now directly cuts funding for outreach and navigators who were already going to be stretched. The administration will be culpable if fewer people enroll in coverage this year.”
National Health Law Program Legal Director Jane Perkins said, “With today’s action, the administration is tying navigators’ hands behind their backs by piling on funding cuts to an already shortened enrollment period. The administration is also ignoring federal laws that establish the essential functions of navigators and fund them to do this work.”