Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor Critical of Trump Administration's Cuts to Essential Health Care Navigators

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Washington, July 11, 2018 | comments
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) today harshly criticized the Trump Administration’s announced major cuts to independent health care Navigators who help consumers make decisions on affordable health care options. The University of South Florida (USF), which has consistently received the largest annual Navigator Grant in the country, likely will lose millions of dollars.
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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) today harshly criticized the Trump Administration’s announced major cuts to independent health care Navigators who help consumers make decisions on affordable health care options.  The University of South Florida (USF), which has consistently received the largest annual Navigator Grant in the country, likely will lose millions of dollars.

“The Trump Administration and GOP continue to sabotage the affordable health care of families across America and particularly in Florida, which has consistently had more people sign up for health insurance under HealthCare.gov than any other state.  Navigators, led by the USF College of Public Health partnership, have been key to connecting families with the best options for affordable health insurance in the marketplace.  Our neighbors and small businesses have come to trust Navigators as independent guides to help review options in the health insurance marketplace.  Despite this, the investment in USF and its success is at risk of going away,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.

Melanie Hall, Executive Director of the Family Health Care Foundation, added: “Navigators do the necessary groundwork to reach diverse groups.  Our services are year-round – not just during open enrollment periods.”

The Family Health Care Foundation has partnered with USF since 2013 to enroll Tampa Bay neighbors under the federal marketplace.

“We could not have led the nation in enrolling Floridians in the federal health insurance marketplace last year and in previous years without this investment in outreach and consumer assistance,” U.S. Rep. Castor continued.  “With these severe cuts in funding for Navigator Grants, the Trump Administration is jeopardizing the year-round work by USF in our community and around the state.

“This action yesterday is a part of the concerted effort by Trump and other Republicans to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  They are strangling this important underpinning of the quality of life for working families and seniors.  Trump and Republicans keep trying to sabotage affordable health care after they failed in repeal in the Congress.  This back-door sabotage will lead to higher premiums.  It has a detrimental impact on an important institution in my community,  my neighbors and my hometown,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.

By the numbers:

Navigator Grants awarded to USF:
2013:  $4.2 million
2014:  $5.4 million
2015:  $5.9 million
2016:  $5.8 million
2017:  $4.9 million

Navigator Grants awarded nationally:
2013:  $67 million
2014:  $60 million
2015:  $67 million
2016:  $63 million
2017:  $36.8 million
2018:  $10 million 

Florida enrollment numbers: 
2014:  983,775
2015:  1,596,296
2016:  1,742,819
2017:  1,760,025
2018:  1,715,227

Despite this sabotage, Floridians and other Americans have signed up for health insurance under the ACA at significant rates and record rates in Florida.  In 2017, 1.7 million Floridians signed up for health insurance under the federal marketplace.  The Trump Administration’s massive cuts to outreach and Navigators will hit USF and its partners particularly hard as USF has consistently won the largest Navigator Grants in the country over the years.  Neighbors can only fear the worst regarding the impact of enrollment of the very possible zeroing out of this investment.

U.S. Rep. Castor serves as Vice Ranking Member of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, and helped to draft the ACA to ensure it works for families and businesses.  U.S. Rep. Castor has stood up for Florida families as the Trump Administration and GOP have moved to cut access to affordable and quality health care coverage.  Numerous groups, families, doctors, neighbors and small businesses have stood with U.S. Rep. Castor in protecting affordable and quality health care coverage.

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