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With Funding Cut, Ohio Foodbanks Forced To End Health Care Navigator Program


For years now, low-income people who visited Ohio’s foodbanks could also get help filling out the paperwork necessary to get health care through the federal Affordable Care Act’s Navigator program. Due to the Trump administration, that won’t be the case anymore.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, of The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, says she’s profoundly disappointed that the food banks are being forced to end the service because of a 71 percent cut in funding.

“Quite honestly, we had really no ability to continue to provide these services or recoup the expenses that we were incurring,” Fugitt says.

She explains the navigator program has been instrumental in helping people who live in rural areas who are not able to use computers or navigate the internet. Other navigator groups have seen their funding cut by as much as 90 percent.

The Trump administration has said the groups don’t provide a good enough value, but critics have said the White House – which also cut money for advertising the ACA – is undermining the health care program.

Though they will no longer have the assistance of helpers at food banks, Ohioans can still sign up for the program on the website Healthcare.gov or by phone. Open enrollment for the 2018 marketplace plans will begin November 1 and end December 15.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.