Sep 5, 2017

ACA allies plot their own enrollment push

AP file photo

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act are putting together a new effort to promote enrollment, hoping to make up for at least some of the Trump administration's cuts to that outreach.

The plan is still under wraps for now; an announcement could come as early as this week. But the approach sounds like it'll be roughly in line with the role Enroll America had played during the first four open-enrollment periods, before closing its doors this past spring.

  • A source familiar with the planning tells me the new effort "will involve celebrities, fundraising, experienced marketers, and a broad coalition.”
  • It also will have multiple national chairs. Among them will be Andy Slavitt, who helped administer the ACA for the last few years of President Obama's administration.
  • Many pieces of that coalition are already established. The Obama-era outreach effort, including the government's work as well as Enroll America's, relied heavily on local organizers. Although a lot of the attention went to high-profile promotions like Obama's "Between Two Ferns" appearance, people who worked on the effort say the in-person outreach made the biggest difference in many communities.

Why it matters: ACA enrollment at the end of the Obama administration was stable overall, but with some problem spots — namely, areas where few (if any) insurers had any interest in selling policies; and a sicker-than-expected customer base that drove steep premium hikes in many parts of the country.

And that's where things ended up with both the White House and its external allies pulling out all the stops to make things work as well as possible. The Trump administration isn't interested in making things work as well as possible. So if the law is going to even maintain its current level of on-the-ground strength, its allies will have to do the heavy lifting.

Yes, but: External allies were a sort of force multiplier for the Obama administration. It's pretty hard to go from a force multiplier to a force replacer. Two key points from a veteran of the Obama-era outreach effort:

  • It'll be awfully hard for any non-profit to raise as much money as the Trump administration has cut from its own budget.
  • HHS alone has the most valuable asset in this whole effort: The list of people who enrolled previously. (Enroll America never had that data, and a new group won't, either.) In short, outside organizations can only do so much.

Go deeper

Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.