The Daily beast reported on Thursday that the Trump administration has been sneaking around using your taxpayer dollars to undermine public support for Obamacare.
The Department of Health and Human Services, led by Tom Price, is using social media and a series of video testimonials to increase the criticism of the Affordable Care Act in order to discourage people from enrolling in the program.
According to the Daily Beast, HHS is using funds from the government to pay for their video testimonials. The department produced and released 23 videos of Americans who have struggled with Obamacare.
The videos are real people testifying, but according to Ryan Stanton, a Kentucky physician who was featured in an HHS testimonial, he felt pressured to speak more critically about Obamacare than he wanted to.
“I don’t think mine was the exact message they were looking for of, ‘Oh, let’s march against Obamacare,'” he said. “It was clearly an effort to push the repeal and replace.”
HHS also changed their website, trying to persuade people that Obamacare is bad. One page on the site, entitled “Empowering Patients” reads: “with skyrocketing premiums and narrowing choices, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has done damage to this market and created great burdens for many Americans.”
The fact that HHS is using money for their own partisan gain is illegal. HHS is only allowed to spend money on efforts to educate the public, not persuade them
“You’re not hired into the administration to decide whether you agree with the law you’re asked to execute. That’s not your job,” Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told The Daily Beast. “Congress appropriates funds for you to carry out laws that they passed, not to spend those funds on activities that counteract those laws.”
“I’m on a daily basis horrified by leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services who seem intent on taking healthcare away from the constituents they are supposed to serve,” former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told The Daily Beast. “We always believed that delivering health and human services was the mission of the department. That seems to not be the mission of the current leadership.”