Saturday, November 30, 2013

Obamacare Website Scrubs References to Online Functions of SHOP

    Though news of a one year delay in the online Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace just broke early Wednesday afternoon (via Politico), Healthcare.gov wasted no time in updating the page on the website dealing with online functions of SHOP, though there is no notation that the page was revised.  The page, formerly titled "How do I apply for coverage in the SHOP Marketplace?" has been revised to "How do I enroll in coverage through the SHOP Marketplace?" and has been scrubbed of all references to online enrollment and even online account creation.  Here is a portion of the page as it currently appears:

    As early as this morning, the page appeared this way:

    Notably, archived versions of the page in question are not available, because "webcrawlers" used by search engines such as Google have been blocked by what is known as a "robot.txt" page on the site.  (THE WEEKLY STANDARD had a screenshot of the SHOP coverage page on file prior to Wednesday's revision.) As shown here, the SHOP apply-for-coverage page and several others have been blocked from archiving by Healthcare.gov:

    The same thing was done in mid-September to the "creating an account" page when the Account Creation feature was taken offline weeks before the October 1 launch.
    A related question, "How do my employees sign up for SHOP?" has been removed entirely and is met with a "Sorry, we can't find that page" message.  That page has appeared as follows:

    An archived version of that page is still available.

Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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