Cutting Federal Spending On ObamaCare

The rather feckless Republicans don’t seem to be able to get rid of ObamaCare, but President Trump is managing to clip its wings somewhat. Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial explaining one way President Trump is cutting ObamaCare spending.

The editorial reports:

In late August, the administration announced that it was sharply cutting the promotional budget for ObamaCare as well as money spent on “navigators” paid to help people enroll when open enrollment starts on November 1.

Both cuts were more than justified.

The Obama administration nearly doubled ObamaCare promotional spending in 2016 to more than $100 million, only to see overall enrollment decline by 400,000 and the number of new enrollees drop by 42%. This year, the Department of Health and Human Services is slashing the ad budget to $10 million.

The navigator program was an even bigger waste of money. HHS notes that the Obama administration dumped $62.5 million on navigators last year — who then managed to help fewer than 82,000 people enroll. That’s $762 per enrollee. One navigator got $200,000 and enrolled one person. HHS is cutting the navigator budget by almost 40%.

Not surprisingly, the cuts were treated by ObamaCare defenders as another effort by Trump to sabotage the law.

But then something interesting happened. The private sector mobilized to pick up the slack.

The Huffington Post reports that former Obama administration officials just launched a project — called Get America Covered — that has raised at least as much money from foundations and private groups as the feds were going spend. It’s also established “partnerships with businesses, state officials and local media that will help spread the word.”

When the government gets out of the way, good things happen.

The editorial concludes:

Why should taxpayers fork over hundreds of millions of dollars for dubious federal ad campaigns and to pay underworked navigators, when there are passionate people and plenty of money in the private sector to take on this job?

It’s a safe bet, too, that these privately run and privately funded groups are going to use their money more efficiently and effectively than the government ever could. Plus, they will be able to look with pride at their successes, rather than complain about how the government should do more.

Instead of attacking Trump, these groups should be thanking him for giving them the opportunity to take on this challenge.

As for the rest of us, this is a perfect example of how government programs can be cut without harming citizens. With any luck, there will be many more such examples in the years ahead.

Milton Friedman said it best–“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

Next There Will Be A Dress Code

The New York Post is reporting today that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a ban on ‘body-shaming‘ ads. The move is praised by gender equality groups (what does that even mean?).

The article reports:

Transport For London , which runs the British capital’s subways, buses, trams and taxi cabs, will work up new policies designed to remove what Khan sees as dangerous images used in everyday ads.

“As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies,” Khan said Monday. “It is high time it came to an end.”

I have a few questions about this. Who decides what is allowed? Do gender equality groups (whatever they are) understand what they are supporting? I don’t particularly appreciate advertising that takes the average man five minutes to notice the product because of the scantily-dressed model selling it, but I don’t want to see these images become illegal.

I have been in London. At one point when visiting, I saw two men dressed in g-strings walking down the street holding hands. Is that going to be addressed? Is there going to be a city dress code? Is London going to have modesty police like Iran?

This is a step down a road that should not be traveled. I wonder if there is a City Council of some sort that should have voted on this.

It’s All In What You Name The Bill

On Tuesday Time.com posted an article about the Transparent Airlines Act, which had just passed in the House of Representatives. The law allows airline ads to exclude government fees. Therefore the consumer could easily be misled as to how much his flight will cost.

The article reports:

As MONEY’s Brad Tuttle reported in April, $61 dollars of a typical $300 flight comes from federal taxes–20% of the overall ticket price. Under the new law, airlines could ignore that portion of the fare and advertise the same flight at $239. Could anyone actually buy that flight for $239? Of course not.

One argument by those who favor the law is that it will allow consumers to see exactly how much government fees add to the price of airline tickets. That may be true, but when I buy an airline ticket, I want to know exactly how much it will cost me–not a number that may actually be 20 percent less than the actual cost.