WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is pulling back advertisements that encourage people to sign up for health insurance under former President Barack Obama’s health care law.
The ads were to have run in the next few days of the annual open enrollment period, which ends on Tuesday. In the last few years, large numbers of consumers signed up just before the deadline.
Under the Affordable Care Act, people who go without insurance are subject to tax penalties. But President Trump and Republicans in Congress are determined to repeal the law, including provisions that require most Americans to have insurance.
“The federal government has spent more than $60 million promoting the open enrollment period,” a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. “We have pulled back roughly $5 million of the final placement in an effort to look for efficiencies where they exist.”
However, the department continued to send email messages urging consumers to visit its insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov.
“Final Deadline,” said a typical email sent from the federal marketplace on Thursday. “Our records show that you still need to submit a 2017 application — before the final deadline on January 31. This year, millions of uninsured Americans have incomes that qualify them for reduced monthly costs on high-quality plans. Don’t miss your final chance for 2017 health insurance.”
Since Nov. 1, more than 11.5 million people have signed up for insurance or had their coverage automatically renewed under the Affordable Care Act, federal officials said this month. More than 8.7 million of those consumers were in states that use HealthCare.gov as an enrollment portal.
Kevin J. Counihan, the former chief executive of the federal insurance exchange, accused the Trump administration of trying to “sabotage open enrollment,” and called the action “outrageous.”
“We know that more young people enroll during the final days of open enrollment, but they need to be reminded of the January 31 deadline,” Mr. Counihan said. “Having health insurance is still law of the land. If the president and Republicans in Congress want to change that, they should come up with a plan and show it to the American people.”
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