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house Bill H.R. 2292

Should $300 Million Be Spent Each Year on Obamacare Outreach?

Argument in favor

Obamacare marketing has been massively underfunded by the Trump administration, and it’s necessary to put more funds into helping people enroll in health insurance to expand health insurance coverage and stabilize the marketplaces.

jimK's Opinion
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06/13/2019
Yes, help those that need these health care options get connected to them. The fact that Trump peed all over yet another of Obama’s programs has nothing to do with its efficacy. It has more to do with Trump trying to undo the good that Obama has done in his narcissistic drive to put his brand on everything in his sight.
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Stephen's Opinion
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06/13/2019
It is embarrassing that the United States does not have universal health care for ALL. It is a human right.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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06/13/2019
Until we have some type of universal healthcare this is the best we have. Promote it. Save lives.
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Argument opposed

The navigator programs that this bill seeks to fund are poorly run and inefficient. There’s also evidence that funds meant for ACA outreach may have been misspent — so there’s a possibility that funds appropriated under this bill might suffer the same issue.

Leslie's Opinion
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06/13/2019
If people are so excited about this "affordable healthcare" why does money need to be spent to convince them to enroll in the program. Another brilliant idea by Maxine Waters!?!?
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David's Opinion
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06/13/2019
We shouldn’t even have Obamacare, it’s a broken system.
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Terry's Opinion
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06/13/2019
Money can be spent on actual health care programs for people who need them the most.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
    IntroducedApril 12th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2292?

This bill — known as the ACA OUTREACH Act — would make a $1.2 billion investment over a four-year period in order to fund outreach activities by the federal health insurance marketplaces, state-run health insurance marketplaces, and local advocacy organizations to encourage health coverage enrollment — particularly among minority, rural, and underserved communities, people with disabilities, and young adults.

This bill would appropriate $300 million per year for ACA navigator grants and outreach and promotional activities for the next four fiscal years. Each year, it provides:

  • $100 million for grants to navigator programs, which provide funding to organizations that educate consumers and facilitate enrollment during the Annual Open Enrollment Periods;
  • $100 million for outreach and promotional activities by the federal government in states with a federally-facilitated health insurance marketplace; and
  • $100 million for grants to states with a state-based marketplace to enhance outreach activities.

It’d also require that outreach and promotional activities specifically target populations that are most likely to be uninsured, such as young adults, African-Americans, Hispanics, and low-income Americans.

This bill’s full title is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Outreach for the Uninsured, Transformative Recruitment, and Enrollment Action for Compassionate Healthcare (OUTREACH) Act.

Impact

Insurance purchasers; uninsured populations; ACA marketplaces; navigator programs; ACA promotional activities; and the ACA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2292

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to require the Secretary of Heath and Human Services to invest in outreach and promotional activities for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a letter to her Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this bill in the current Congress, Rep. Waters wrote: 

"As part of its campaign to undermine the ACA, the Trump administration has slashed funding for outreach and promotional activities for the ACA, including advertising and outreach to inform consumers about the availability of health coverage and financial assistance.  The administration has also cut funding for the navigator program, which provides grants to organizations that educate consumers and facilitate enrollment. Outreach to consumers is essential for a stable health insurance marketplace. Covered California’s extensive marketing and outreach program is a case in point. According to a 2017 Covered California report, investments in marketing and outreach attract a healthier risk pool, lower premiums, and encourage health insurance companies to participate in the market with more certainty and potential returns. The report shows how marketing and outreach increased enrollment among younger and healthier consumers, thereby reducing premiums by an estimated 6 to 8 percent in 2015 and 2016.  The lower premiums increased the likelihood of enrollment by healthier consumers, which further reduced premiums.  Covered California estimated that every dollar invested in marketing yields a more than three-to-one return on investment...  The OUTREACH Act will help to expand coverage, lower premiums, and ensure a stable health insurance marketplace in states across the country."

Last Congress, Rep. Waters introduced this bill to increase federal funding for outreach activities by the federal health insurance marketplaces, state-run health insurance marketplaces, and local advocacy organizations to encourage health coverage enrollment, particularly among minority, rural, and underserved communities, people with disabilities, and young adults: 

“Our health care system is under attack by a president, administration, and Republican-controlled Congress that – after numerous failed attempts to repeal Obamacare – are sabotaging it for political gain. My legislation seeks to reverse their vindictive efforts to undermine and de-stabilize our health care system by ensuring that all consumers are provided with the information they need to make timely and well-informed decisions when purchasing health coverage through the federal and state-run marketplaces… I am proud to introduce legislation that not only increases funding for promotional activities… but also takes steps to increase enrollment in underserved communities, lower health care premiums, and ensure a stable health insurance marketplace nationwide.”

During the 115th Congress, Judicial Watch, an American conservative activist group, called this bill a “preposterous measure” to fund a “fraud-infested Obamacare ‘outreach’ program” that it organization contended is neither effective nor well-run:

“The Obamacare navigator program was rife with fraud and corruption and Judicial Watch sued HHS back in 2014 to obtain records that the agency refused to provide under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In 2013, the Obama administration gave dozens of leftists organizations a whopping $67 million to help people ‘navigate’ health insurance exchanges that weren’t even fully established. In a ‘culturally competent manner’ the so-called navigators were tasked with helping people shop for and enroll in plans that would eventually be available on the federal government market places. The money was divided between 105 mostly leftist groups that assisted and recruited the uninsured to sign up for coverage and understand their options… Some of the navigator money went to a labor front group called Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York headed by an illegal immigrant activist named Maria Marroquin. The group received navigator funds shortly after Marroquin, an illegal alien from Peru, had been arrested for participating in disruptive demonstrations protesting the deportation of fellow undocumented immigrants and demanding amnesty. Besides the outrage of hiring an illegal immigrant to promote a U.S. government program, it’s equally disturbing to know that navigators have access to the sensitive personal information of healthcare enrollees… Navigator funds also went to a nonprofit (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)) with such a huge history of corruption that Congress issued a federal funding ban.”

This bill has 28 Democratic cosponsors in the 116th Congress. In the 115th Congress, this bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health with the support of 36 Democratic cosponsors but didn't see committee action.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / vinnstock)

AKA

ACA OUTREACH Act

Official Title

To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide funding for American Health Benefit Exchanges navigator programs and outreach and promotional activities.

    Yes, help those that need these health care options get connected to them. The fact that Trump peed all over yet another of Obama’s programs has nothing to do with its efficacy. It has more to do with Trump trying to undo the good that Obama has done in his narcissistic drive to put his brand on everything in his sight.
    Like (88)
    Follow
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    If people are so excited about this "affordable healthcare" why does money need to be spent to convince them to enroll in the program. Another brilliant idea by Maxine Waters!?!?
    Like (67)
    Follow
    Share
    It is embarrassing that the United States does not have universal health care for ALL. It is a human right.
    Like (62)
    Follow
    Share
    Repeal the Obamacare disaster
    Like (55)
    Follow
    Share
    Until we have some type of universal healthcare this is the best we have. Promote it. Save lives.
    Like (52)
    Follow
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    We shouldn’t even have Obamacare, it’s a broken system.
    Like (48)
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    The reason that the programs are having trouble is due to Trump trying to kill ACA . Trump and his minions want the ACA killed because it forced employers to care for their employees. That’s what they didn’t like, it’s the corporations and the people who own them that want ACA Obamacare dead. Shellfish!
    Like (46)
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    Money can be spent on actual health care programs for people who need them the most.
    Like (45)
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    Less government. Not more. Government is the problem. Not the solution.
    Like (37)
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    I’m opposed to anything that comes outa this trolls mouth, drive a stake through what remains of Obamacare. It’s unconstitutional period. #MAGA
    Like (32)
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    We have too many families that need medical assistance. I would prefer Medicare for all, but until that comes into existence, these people need this. We also need to refund fully Medicaid and Medicare. Medicare never should have been touched to begin with, since it is an investment made by monthly payments out of every American paycheck. Medicaid was created to help families without work, and without any medical coverage. Possibly with this medical assistance we can get more people off opioids and other drugs.
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    No. I am still looking for the plan and cost and 2500 $$ supposed to be saving. No no no. Biggest lie that democrats will not accept.
    Like (19)
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    Yes. Keep ACA. Support ACA. Fund ACA. Keep essential health benefits. Keep real pre existing conditions coverage. Support ACA outreach! Keep and strengthen ACA.
    Like (18)
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    Start healthcare from scratch. Ocare is history
    Like (18)
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    Is there a “h@ll no” button?
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    Yes, make sure that no stone is left unturned to help those who need ACA plans get connected. Ultimately, we NEED LGBTQIA+ inclusive, culturally aware, comprehensive (medical, vision, dental, mental health, specialties, reproductive health, medical transition related care, etc) single payer healthcare! Healthcare is a right, not a privilege!
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    Let’s let that die please
    Like (17)
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    👿 10 Democratic Affordable Care Act (Obama Care Act) Failures.👿 The navigator programs that this bill seeks to fund are poorly run and inefficient. There’s also evidence that funds meant for ACA outreach may have been misspent — so there’s a possibility that funds appropriated under this bill might suffer the same issue. It’s been clear that Obamacare was deeply and is still flawed ever since millions of Americans lost their health insurance coverage when it took effect despite advocates’ promises they’d be able to keep them. Obamacare’s mandates have made the cost of health insurance unaffordable, and Republicans are right to try to repeal and replace it. * Three million to 5 million people lost their employment-based health insurance. Many businesses found it more cost-effective to pay the penalty and let their employees purchase insurance plans on the exchanges. Other small businesses find they can get better plans through the state-run exchanges.  * Thirty million people never had company plans and relied on private health insurance. Insurance companies canceled many of their plans because their policies didn't cover the ACA's 10 essential benefits. For those who lost those cut-rate plans, the costs of replacing them are high. The ACA requires services that many people don't need, like maternity care.  * Increased coverage raised overall health care costs in the short term. That's because many people received preventive care and testing for the first time. It was expensive to treat illnesses that had been ignored for decades. The ACA taxed those who didn't purchase insurance. But many avoided the tax through an ever-expanding list of exemptions. Four million people chose to pay the tax rather than pay for coverage. The Congressional Budget Office estimated they paid $54 billion.  * In 2013, the ACA raised the income tax rate for 1 million individuals with incomes above $200,000. It also raised taxes for 4 million couples filing joint returns on incomes exceeding $250,000. The rate increased from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent on income above the threshold. They also pay an additional 3.8 percent Medicare tax. That applies to the lesser of income from dividends, capital gains, rent and royalties or income above the threshold.  * Starting in 2013, medical device manufacturers and importers paid a 2.3 percent excise tax. Note: This tax was suspended for 2016-2018. Indoor tanning services paid a 10 percent excise tax. This might discourage those businesses from hiring new employees.  * Starting in 2013, families could deduct medical expenses that exceeded 10 percent of income. Before, they could deduct any expenses that exceeded 7.5 percent of income. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act restored the deduction to the 7.5 percent limit for 2018 and 2019. Pharmaceutical companies pay an extra $84.8 billion in fees between 2013 and 2023. That pays for closing the "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D. Drug costs could rise if the companies pass this onto consumers. In 2022, insurance companies will be assessed a 40 percent excise tax on "Cadillac" health plans. These are plans with annual premiums exceeding $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families. Many of these plans are for people in high-risk pools, such as older workers or those with dangerous jobs. Most of the tax will be passed onto the companies and employees, raising premiums and deductibles.  SneakyPete........ 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻. 6.16.19.....
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    Obamacare was written by the right wing Heritage Foundation. We need single payer MEDICARE FOR ALL, which would save trillions for employers and everyone else, while saving 40K America. deaths per year.
    Like (16)
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    We need healthcare coverage.
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