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1.1 million fewer people could sign up for ObamaCare this year due to Trump funding cuts

1.1 million fewer people could sign up for ObamaCare this year due to Trump funding cuts
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The Trump administration's funding cuts to ObamaCare's advertising budget could result in at least 1.1 million fewer people signing up for coverage this year, according to an analysis released Monday. 

"The threat to Open Enrollment this year is very real," wrote Josh Peck, the author of the analysis, who served as healthcare.gov's chief marketing officer during the Obama administration. 

"People will be hurt by the administration's actions." 

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Peck's analysis is based on previous studies completed by the Obama administration that showed how many enrollments were generated per dollar spent on advertising like television, digital ads, emails and phone calls.

Because the Trump administration cut ObamaCare's advertising budget by 90 percent, Peck used the data to estimate how many fewer people could enroll in coverage this year. 

While the Obama administration spent $100 million on advertising last year, the Trump administration plans to spend only $10 million, arguing that people already know about the law. 

But ObamaCare advocates have worried that the cuts will mean less people know about open enrollment or that financial assistance is still available. 

Peck called his analysis the "best case scenario," because it doesn't take into account other actions from the administration. 

The administration also cut in-person enrollment assistance, cut the open enrollment period in half and canceled key insurer subsidies. 

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15. 

HHS spokesperson Matt Lloyd said in a statement that massive advertising campaigns have not worked for the law in the past.

“As Obamacare enters its fifth open enrollment period, it is clear that massive advertising campaigns have not delivered substantial gains in coverage on Obamacare’s exchanges," he said. 

"Last year, fewer Americans bought Obamacare coverage despite the previous Administration nearly doubling the advertising budget. More marketing will not convince Americans to sign up for failed coverage they cannot afford or that does not meet their needs.”