The HHS inspector general's office is investigating the Trump administration's decision to yank HealthCare.gov ads ahead of the deadline to sign up for 2017 insurance coverage.
The administration pulled ads and emails meant to encourage people to sign up for marketplace coverage in the final week of open enrollment that ended Jan. 31. The move is thought to be a major reason why Affordable Care Act enrollment dipped to 12.2 million this year. Supporters of the healthcare law labeled the decision to pull the ads “sabotage.” The Trump administration said they were a waste of taxpayer dollars.
But health insurance experts say there's usually a big uptick in signups during the final weeks of open enrollment, when deadline-driven consumers rush to choose a health plan. A recent Health Affairs study showed that repeated television ads correlate to an increase in insurance sign-ups.
The HHS inspector general's office sent a letter to Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts stating that it has launched a “fact-finding review,” the AP first reported Friday.
A spokeswoman for the inspector general's office confirmed it initiated a review after the senators requested an investigation in January.