GOP says Medicare financed health-care brochure is propaganda

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Republicans say a new health-care brochure for seniors financed with Medicare funds looks more like taxpayer-funded propaganda than straight information.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor Tuesday to call the flyer an “outrage.” A copy of the brochure can be viewed here.

He said the leaflet from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (part of the Department Health and Human Services) tells seniors what the health care bill means for them, but much of it directly contradicts what the Obama administration’s own experts have said about the law. “This is nothing short of government propaganda, paid for by the taxpayer,” McConnell said.

“The administration’s own actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says seniors who use Medicare Advantage will lose benefits as a result of this bill. Yet the flyer they’re putting out says nothing about this. Instead, it implies nothing will change for these seniors,” he said.

McConnell said “perhaps most egregious is the claim that a bill which cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars will actually ‘preserve and strengthen’ Medicare.”

The Daily Caller was unable to obtain information on how much the mailers cost.

Reached for comment, Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a release that an information brochure is necessary because “unfortunately new opportunities for Medicare beneficiaries also bring new opportunities for scam artists to try and defraud seniors.”

“It’s important that our Medicare beneficiaries get facts about this important new law timely so they can learn what stays the same and what will change and improve in terms of their benefits,” Tavenner said.

But Rep. Dave Camp, the ranking member of Ways and Means, said in a statement that, “the Obama Administration has unleashed a public relations campaign” because “the vast majority of Americans, especially seniors, are opposed to their health overhaul.”

Camp’s release sought to discredit the “myths” or “misleading statements” the brochure claims like:

  • The new health care law “will provide you and your family with greater savings and increased quality health care.”
  • Because of the new health law “you will see new benefits and cost savings” and “Medicare will continue to cover your health costs the way it always has.”
  • “The new law creates a program to preserve [employer-based retiree health plans] and help people who retire before age 65 get the affordable care they need.”
  • “The new law provides affordable health insurance through a transitional high-risk pool program for people without insurance due to a pre-existing condition.”
  • “More Affordable Prescription Drugs”
  • “Your choice of doctor will be preserved.”

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