Dan Diamond reports that the White House is prodding researchers to copy data on the Affordable Care Act out of fear that the incoming Trump administration may erase this information:
Spooked by Trump's rhetoric and pledge to repeal Obamacare, several dozen independent researchers are racing to download key health care data and documents before Jan. 20. They say they began the effort on their own, and then got a boost from Jeanne Lambrew, the White House's top health reform official, who also sounded alarms the new administration might expunge reams of information from public websites and end access to data, researchers told POLITICO.
Researchers don't want to say anything about the matter on the record because, as one of them said: "Talking about it now sounds pretty paranoid. And talking about it publicly is a pretty good way to end up on the shit list."
Paranoid? Given the vows of Republicans in general and the unpresidented-elect in particular to dismantle the ACA, it just makes good sense to put these data in some place safe. Knowing the details of any program provides evidence to tweak it or ultimately replace it with something better. And even though the Trump transition team has backed off from its earlier menacing request for the names of Department of Energy employees who have worked on Obama's climate initiatives, it's no stretch to think this witch hunt might merely have been delayed and will come back and spread throughout the government after Trump actually takes office.
Trump has often challenged government employment data, repeatedly saying that actual unemployment is 42 percent. He has filled his cabinet with some of the most extreme deniers of climate science, who challenge decades of data. He has made his disgust with the Environmental Protection Agency clear and threatened to end NASA's Earth observation programs. His agenda and that of hoi oligoi that he has packed into his administration would be greatly aided if certain information were not being collected and kept.