Trump officials again slash funding for ObamaCare outreach groups

Trump officials again slash funding for ObamaCare outreach groups

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is significantly cutting funding for outreach groups that help people enroll in ObamaCare coverage.

The funding will be cut from $36 million this year to $10 million in 2019, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a statement.

The administration's funding for such outreach had already been slashed last year to well below the $63 million budgeted annually under former President Obama.

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Democrats say that the cuts are more evidence of Trump officials sabotaging the health law.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE canceled key ObamaCare payments last year, and also slashed the budget for advertising ObamaCare insurance.

The administration, meanwhile, argues that because the law has been around longer, the need for outside groups to help people enroll — known as navigators — has diminished.  

“As the Exchange has grown in visibility and become more familiar to Americans seeking health insurance, the need for federally funded Navigators has diminished,” CMS said in a statement on Tuesday.

The administration also maintains that navigators have proven to be ineffective.

“Enrollment data from previous years show that Navigators failed to enroll a meaningful amount of people,” CMS said.

Navigators and other advocates push back on that claim, saying that navigators help enroll some of the people who most need help, such as those who don’t speak English well or those in rural areas.

“Less resources means we have less boots on the ground to provide that enrollment assistance,” said Jodi Ray, director of Florida Covering Kids and Families, a navigator group, told The Hill last month when officials were considering the cuts to the program.