Cummings Requests Documents on Trump Administration Campaign to Scrub ACA Information from Medicare Website
Washington, D.C. (August 7, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), requesting information about the potentially illegal scrubbing of content about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the Medicare.gov website.
“The deletion of this information may violate federal law, which requires public notice before removing public information,” Cummings wrote. “Deleting this information appears to be another attempt by the Trump Administration to undermine the ACA, and it contradicts the Department’s core mission ‘to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans.’”
According to a recent investigation done by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, the Department deleted the entire “The Affordable Care Act & Medicare” page, which contained information on how Medicare coverage related to the Health Insurance marketplace created by the ACA, and linked to additional information.
The deletion of this information from the Medicare.gov website may violate the Paperwork Reduction Act, which requires agencies to “provide adequate notice when initiating, substantially modifying, or terminating significant information dissemination products.” In this instance, it does not appear that the Department provided such notice prior to scrubbing this content from the website. When asked to provide an explanation for removing the ACA-related content from Medicare.gov, a CMS spokesperson claimed that the page had been underutilized.
On April 6, 2018, Cummings wrote to Secretary Azar with similar concerns pertaining to the Department’s decision to scrub information about breast cancer, preventive services guaranteed by the ACA, and various LGBTQ health issues from the Department’s website for the Office of Women’s Health. The Department refused to provide any of the requested documents.
“The repeated removal of content from Department websites raises serious questions about the Trump Administration’s commitment to the health and well-being of the American people,” Cummings wrote.
The Ranking Member requests documents and communications referring or relating to the removal of information on Department websites be produced by August 21, 2018.
Click here to read today’s letter.