Inspector general reviewing HHS decision to halt ObamaCare ads

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The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) inspector general is reviewing the Trump administration’s decision earlier this year to halt its ObamaCare outreach efforts.

The review was initiated after Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) requested the HHS watchdog investigate the administration’s move in late January.

“We will conduct a fact-finding review of HHS’s decision related to halting (and resuming, as applicable) paid advertisements, email, social media, and other outreach efforts related to Marketplace enrollment in 2017,” HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson wrote in a letter to the lawmakers dated Thursday.


“Our inquiry will include the timeline, decision-making process, and factors considered by HHS, including any HHS analyses of implications for enrollment and/or expected costs or savings,” he added.

Warren welcomed a review of the Trump administration’s move.

“I’m glad that there will be an independent review of the Trump Administration’s decision to cut off efforts to enroll people in the ACA,” Warren said in a statement, referring to the Affordable Care Act.

“President Trump and congressional Republicans have made clear that their priorities include destroying the protection that ACA gives millions of families. HHS’s move to halt outreach for ACA enrollment could contribute to weakening health care marketplaces and raising costs for hard working people across the country,” she added.

Murray also praised the review, saying she will keep HHS secretary Tom Price and the GOP “accountable for any and all efforts to create Trumpcare by sabotaging our health care system and undermining families’ access to care they need.”

“Secretary Price has a duty to provide the public with accurate and timely information so that they can make decisions about their health care,” she said.

The Trump administration pulled the ads during the last week of open enrollment that ended on Jan. 31. Critics saw the move as an attempt by the new administration to decrease the ObamaCare enrollment numbers ahead of the deadline.

The inspector general review comes as House GOP leaders on Friday pulled their legislation aimed at repealing and replacing ObamaCare, after several dozen Republicans came out against the plan.

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