Debate erupts within HHS about 'words to avoid' such as 'vulnerable,' 'diversity' and 'entitlement'

Health and Human Services Department officials confirmed that they had singled out a handful of words that should be avoided in the upcoming budget process, but said they had not blocked employees from using them outright. A department spokesman further said that the guidance came from within HHS, not from the Office of Management and Budget. HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said that employees had misinterpreted the guidance. “HHS and its agencies have not banned, prohibited or forbidden employees from using certain words,” said Lloyd. “Recent media reports appear to be based on confusion that arose when employees misconstrued guidelines provided during routine discussions on the annual budget process. It was clearly stated to those involved in the discussions that the science should always drive the narrative.” Officials who have been briefed on the budget guidance, however, said the message was clear. “It was interpreted as 'you are not to use these words in the budget narrative,'" said one person who received a briefing. “The idea that it's all a misunderstanding is laughable.”


Debate erupts within HHS about 'words to avoid' such as 'vulnerable,' 'diversity' and 'entitlement'