The Sunlight Foundation, an open government group, monitors government websites for changes that could also mean an edit to policy is forthcoming. Such was the case when the Sunlight Foundation discovered 26 mentions of the Affordable Care Act were scrubbed from government pages.
Wired reported on the story Wednesday, noting these changes often occur without anyone notcing and that they can have actual impact on Americans’ health care.
“Some of the changes were subtle,” Wired said of Sunlight’s report. “Others, including the disappearance of an 85-page website devoted to the ACA, were sweeping. Taken together, the researchers argue, the modifications are tantamount to government censorship and point to an increasing need for oversight of government websites.”
“People rely on government information, and there’s a presumption of objectivity that comes from the [government] address,” the Web Integrity Project’s director Sarah John said. “If a website says one thing one day and a different thing the next day, what is a citizen to make of that?”
The Department of Health and Human Services refused to answer questions.
“That the Trump administration would whittle away at these online resources may not come as a surprise; it has already effectively gutted the financial resources that the Obama administration dedicated to promoting the law,” Wired explained. “Shortly after President Trump took office, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it would cut funding for Affordable Care Act–related outreach and advertising by 90 percent, from $100 million to $10 million. The following year, the center slashed funding even further for so-called navigators, who help people sign up for insurance.”
It’s unclear what impact these changes will have on the Affordable Care Act as a whole.