White House partially backpedals on suspension of outreach for ACA health plan signup

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The Trump administration partly reversed its decision Friday to suspend ads encouraging Americans to enroll in health coverage through HealthCare.gov before the open enrollment period for 2017 closes following backlash from former HHS leaders, reports The Washington Post.

Here are four things to know about the partially retracted directive.

1. Politico reported late Friday afternoon the Trump administration reversed its decision less than 24 hours after executing a directive to stop outreach regarding health insurance enrollment under the ACA exchanges. HHS officials said Friday automatic phone calls and other online and digital outreach — including Twitter messages and emails — would continue through the Jan. 31 deadline for obtaining coverage.

2. Two sources told The Washington Post that White House officials were surprised by the criticism they received from HHS officials and ACA proponents regarding the move.

3. Officials would have originally suspended paid television and digital advertising worth several millions whether or not the funding could be reclaimed. However, HHS said Friday it will continue to air ads the government would lose money on regardless if aired or not. 

4. An HHS spokesperson told The Washington Post Friday the agency will not "continue spending millions of taxpayers' dollars promoting a failed government program. Once an assessment was made, we pulled back the most expensive and least efficient part of this massive ad campaign." Officials were able to recoup between $4 million and $5 million in ads set to air before enrollment concludes Tuesday, according to Politico

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