The removals are consistent with other actions the administration has taken to reduce information about ACA health plans.
Here’s another way the Trump administration is seeking to undermine the Affordable Care Act: It’s not providing information about it to people.
The Sunlight Foundation reports that a number of government agencies have recently removed information from their websites relating to the ACA.
“Early last month, a 14-page website dedicated to the ACA was removed from Medicaid.gov, the website for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services,” writes Sunlight’s Rachel Bergman. “While content from some of these pages is still live elsewhere on Medicaid.gov, most of the information, which remains accurate and relevant for Medicaid recipients, has been entirely removed. A prominent link and dropdown menu with the text ‘Affordable Care Act’ has also been removed from Medicaid.gov’s top menu, indicating a shift in how information is now being presented on the website.”
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Bergman notes that similar action was taken on Medicare.gov.
When asked in May about the removal of an ACA reference, the Washington Post was given this response by a CMS representative: “CMS performs routine updates and maintenance to our websites, which includes the revision and removal of content that is not current or underutilized. In this instance, there was a period of time when people with Medicare coverage had questions and interest in the ACA and its impact on Medicare. However, the ACA has now been law for over eight years and both HealthCare.gov and www.cms.gov/cciio [cms.gov] are well-established sites for Healthcare Exchange information.”
The removals are consistent with other actions the administration has taken to reduce information about ACA health plans and make it harder for people to enroll.
Last year, the administration reduced the amount of spending on advertising for ACA plans by 90 percent and reduced funding for health care navigators that help people enroll in plans by 41 percent –– from $62.5 million a year to $36.8 million a year.
Earlier this week, the administration announced that it would further reduce funding for navigators by more than two-thirds to $10 million a year.
In addition, groups that apply for navigator grants will be expected to also provide information to people they help about non-ACA plans, including short-term plans and association plans, both of which may not cover certain medical services that all ACA plans must offer. Some short-term plans, for instance, may not cover hospital visits.
All of these actions, along with the repeal of the individual mandate and the withholding of cost-sharing reduction payments and risk corridor payments to insurers, contribute to destabilizing the ACA marketplace and driving up premiums for those with ACA plans.
Date: July 16, 2018