Navigator Cuts Further Eroding The Affordable Care Act By Hermina Garic
This July the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services announced a 70 percent cut to the “navigators’ program” that assists qualified individuals to enroll in health insurance through The Affordable Care Act. This follows a 40 percent cut last year, reducing the budget for this program to $10 million from $62 million.
According to the federal government, a navigator is:
“An individual or organization that's trained and able to help consumers, small businesses, and their employees as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. These individuals and organizations are required to be unbiased. Their services are free to consumers.”
Navigators are especially significant today because a large portion Americans are not financially literate. A National Capability Study from the FINRA Foundation, a quasi-government organization responsible for financial regulation, released in 2015 administered a financial literacy test to 27, 564 Americans. Two-thirds of participants failed.
The reduction of the navigator budget by the Trump Administration has proved substantial to the reduction in the organizational capacity of the navigator system. With a limited budget, the individuals working as navigators are not able to perform to the highest outreach capacity limiting their ability to help underserved populations.
Researchers have found that it is the lack of investment into education and healthcare by the United States that is responsible for the marginalization of individuals from healthcare. In 1990, the United States was ranked sixth in education and healthcare. Now, a recent study conducted by the Institute for Health and Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, ranks the United States 27th in the world.
Hermina Garic is a government student at Utica College and an intern for the K. Della Ferguson Womyn's Resource Center