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Trump administration to slash ObamaCare outreach budget by 90 percent

The Trump administration will slash funding for ObamaCare outreach and advertising by 90 percent for next year, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday. Last year, the Obama administration spent $100 million on promotional materials educating the public about their health-care options; the Trump administration will spend just $10 million. HHS will also drastically cut funding for "navigator programs," which offer in-person help to people who are enrolling.

HHS officials attributed the cuts to the waning efficacy of the government's outreach and educational efforts, noting that the number of new customer sign-ups decreased in the last year, even as the Obama administration doubled its outreach funding. "There are diminishing returns from this spending," a senior official said. "People are generally aware of ObamaCare and the exchanges. They are aware of the products out there and aware they can sign up."

However, Axios noted the move is sure to raise eyebrows after the Trump administration's repeated attempts to repeal ObamaCare and its decision to cancel advertising in the final days of open enrollment last year. "The surest way to kill the exchanges is to keep them a secret," Timothy Jost, a consumer advocate at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, told Vox. "Sick people will find them, but getting younger and healthier people enrolled is the problem."