Ranking Member Scott’s Statement on Funding Cuts to Health Care Navigators

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Trump administration slashed funding for the Federally-Facilitated Exchange Navigator Program and will urge facilitators to encourage consumers to enroll in health plans that bypass the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections.

“Yesterday’s announcement is a continuation of the Trump administration’s policy of sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, causing health care costs to skyrocket for millions of Americans. Health care navigators are community-based groups that play a critical role in helping Americans to understand available coverage options, so they can enroll in a plan that meets their needs.

“By cutting funding for health care navigators to just $10 million – compared to $36.8 million this past year and $62.5 million the year before – the administration is intentionally erecting barriers to coverage for people across the country. Specifically, cutting back on enrollment assistance makes it less likely that healthy people will enroll in coverage.  Sick people do not need counseling and encouragement to sign up for insurance. Without navigators, fewer healthy people will sign up for insurance and those buying insurance will, on average, be sicker and the cost for premiums will be increased.

“Moreover, the guidance that accompanied this announcement requires navigators to promote short-term and association health plans. These junk plans undermine patient protections and divert healthy people out of insurance pools, again raising the cost of insurance for everyone else.

“The Trump administration’s actions are forcing health insurers to propose steep premium increases in the coming year. This decision reflects a troubling reality: the administration is only interested in sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, even if the result will be higher costs for Americans buying health insurance.” 


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