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.”