It’s no secret that President Donald Trump wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
The law, which was passed by his predecessor and is sometimes referred to as “Obamacare,” aims to expand options for health care coverage to lower-income Americans, doing so by creating a marketplace exchange and expanding Medicaid eligibility.
Rumors abound over whether Trump truly dislikes the law or merely despises it because it’s more popular than he is. Regardless of the motivating factors, the Trump administration appears to be employing a new tactic to undermine the law; removing references to its existence from government websites.
According to a newly released report from the government transparency organization, the Sunlight Foundation, Department of Health and Human Services websites have eliminated discussion of the law or its benefits to certain groups of people on no less than 26 occasions, HuffPost reported.
“HHS has surgically removed the term ‘Affordable Care Act’ from many webpages; taken down information on rights guaranteed under the ACA; eliminated statistics and data on the ACA’s impact; and removed links to the federal government’s main platform for enrolling in ACA coverage, HealthCare.gov,” the report alleged.
The omissions and outright removal of the ACA from these webpages have arguably made it more difficult for individuals who need help to find it in a streamlined process. Their searches take longer, and access to information detailing their options is nonexistent on many of the pages they peruse.
The report notes that while many actions — executive orders and policy changes — have more detrimental effects on the law and its ability to aid those in need, the omissions and censorship of the law by the Trump administration “undercut the aim of the law to increase rates of healthcare coverage among Americans.”
“The widespread use of web censorship can negatively affect public opinion and awareness about federal law, and make it more difficult for the public to access rights, services, and benefits provided under law,” the report concluded.