HHS has altered or removed language about sex discrimination on the Civil Rights section of HHS.Gov. Specifically, a page about Section 1557 of the ACA (the non-discrimination provision) was changed.
- The page is meant to help individuals understand what kinds of sex discrimination the government prohibits under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).
- Section 1557 is the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities.
- Section 1557 is at the center of some complex debates due to the way the final rule has been interpreted. The complexities are explained well here.
This move is similar to removals of language on government sites about what kind of Government we have (CIA website), whether or not Climate change is real (EPA website), or whether or not protections pertaining to transgender citizens are a good idea or not (HHS).
These little jabs cause concern to advocacy groups as they tend to give the impression that the related protections and funding (and in general programs and policy) surrounding these issues are in jeopardy.
Sometimes it is just a word change, like when the CIA shifted away from calling the United States a constitutional federal republic with a strong democratic tradition, and reverted to just constitutional federal republic (not sure what to make of that). Other times it does seem like foreshadowing, like when the EPA stripped its website of all mentions of climate change being real.
Honestly healthcare.gov underwent a change too, with a lot of helpful information being taken off the site (for a while they didn’t even use redirects). Now we have HHS removing wording about sex discrimination under section 1557 and how the ACA protects against it.
The details on what exactly was removed and why it matters are best described by the site who broke the news, so I’ll direct you to that page (see the link below).
For my purposes I just wanted to make you aware and give you insight into how the executive office and its agencies are stripping away existing programs (like the ACA) outside of Congress and how yet another protection and aspect of the ACA could be at risk.
For more reading, see the Sunlight Foundation’s HHS removes sex discrimination prohibition language from civil rights office website by Rachel Bergman and Jon Campbell .