Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY'S TOP NEWS -

A fed­eral in­spec­tor gen­eral has launched an in­quiry into the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to pull ad­ver­tis­ing for Health­ in the clos­ing stretch of this year’s sign-up sea­son, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter made pub­lic Fri­day. The un­ex­pected ad pull­back soon af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took of­fice was termed “sab­o­tage” by Democrats and for­mer Obama of­fi­cials. The new ad­min­is­tra­tion said the ads were a waste of tax­payer dol­lars. In a let­ter to Demo­cratic Sens. Patty Mur­ray of Wash­ing­ton and El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts, the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment’s in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice said it has be­gun a“fact-find­ing re­view.” In­ves­ti­ga­tors will look at the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ac­tions to stop paid ad­ver­tis­ing and tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend other out­reach. They’ll also re­view the ef­fect on en­roll­ment, the let­ter said. For­mer Obama of­fi­cials were out­raged by the new ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ac­tions a few days be­fore the Jan. 31 close of open en­roll­ment. They said there’s usu­ally a surge at the end sign-up sea­son, and the ad pull­back dis­cour­aged prospec­tive cus­tomers. Mur­ray and War­ren asked the in­spec­tor gen­eral to in­ves­ti­gate. About 12.2 mil­lion peo­ple have signed up for cov­er­age this year through Health­ and state in­sur­ance mar­kets, short of ear­lier Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­jec­tions. In a state­ment, Mur­ray said HHS has“a duty to pro­vide the pub­lic with ac­cu­rate and timely in­for­ma­tion so that they can make de­ci­sions about their health care.” There was no ini­tial re­sponse from the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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