Enroll America, a major nonprofit organization that works on helping people obtain and keep health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, is cutting 100 jobs after losing significant funding from donors, Politico reported. As the organization scales back, it will leave a void that some worry could be difficult to fill, even as it trains local organizations to do just that.
One of Enroll America’s biggest funders, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which donated $13 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014, had planned to end funding this year. Other donors are also cutting back, Ron Pollack, chairman of Enroll America’s board, told Politico. In 2013, more than 30 donors gave $27 million to Enroll America. In 2014, nearly 80 donors gave $20 million.
Justin Nisly, a spokesman for Enroll America, told International Business Times on Thursday that the organization had been planning these structural and strategic changes "for some time." Because the number of uninsured Americans has decreased since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the group would be changing its approach to find those who still lack health insurance.
The organization was moving toward what Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, called a "smarter, more targeted approach" aimed at "difficult-to-reach consumers." She said it would do so by continuing to train local partner organizations -- 4,600 of them across all 50 states -- that would be working on insurance enrollment in the future.
Some say Enroll America played a major role in the implementation of Obamacare. “The field work that Enroll America did has really contributed significantly to the numbers that we do have,” Anne Gauthier, a senior program director at the National Academy for State Health Policy, told Politico.
An estimated 11 million people have gained health insurance coverage through state and federal exchanges created under Obamacare, although 30 million remain uninsured. "Enrolling people for health insurance through the exchanges is a lot harder that anybody thought. In a sense they got the low-hanging fruit already," Joseph Antos, a health care policy scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told Politico.
“Our goal over the next few years is to make ourselves unnecessary by passing the baton to local organizations and leaders," Alescia Teel, Enroll America’s deputy state director for New Jersey, told the Record last month.