Aug 31, 2017

HHS cuts ACA advertising budget by 90%

AP file photo

The Department of Health and Human Services announced today it's slashing the advertising and promotional budget for the Affordable Care Act for next year. It's planning to spend $10 million to promote the law in the open enrollment period that starts in November — compared to the $100 million the Obama administration spent last year.

Why they're doing it: On a conference call with reporters, HHS officials argued that last year's promotional spending — which was doubled from the year before — was ineffective because signups for new customers actually went down. They also said the $10 million budget is more in line with what Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D spend to promote their open enrollments.

Why it matters: The Trump administration is making cost-effectiveness a major theme this year, but it's sure to be accused of undermining ACA enrollment, given all of the Trump administration's battles to repeal the law — and given that it also cancelled advertising for the final days of last year's open enrollment.

One more thing: HHS is also planning to cut spending on “navigators," who are supposed to help people enroll, by tying their funding to their effectiveness in reaching their enrollment goals last year.

Go deeper

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Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

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The latest: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN on the president's quasi-offer: "Thank you but no thank you," and accused Trump of "calling out the American military for a photo opportunity."

54 mins ago - World

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Newspaper front pages via the Newseum

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The big picture: The U.S. accounts for nearly one-third of the world's deaths from COVID-19. The killing of a black man, George Floyd, by police has sparked days of protest and nights of chaos in America's major cities.

Trump walks to historic St. John's Church outside White House as protests rage

President Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just steps away from the White House across Lafayette Park, on Monday night as protests linked to the murder of George Floyd raged across the capital and cities around the country.

What we're seeing: Military police and park rangers used physical force and tear gas on peaceful protestors to clear the area so that Trump could "pay respects" to the church that was damaged by a fire on Sunday.