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Medicare Reeducation on TV?

An $8.5 million campaign.

5:56 PM, Jan 4, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, are required by law to educate the public about important information regarding open enrollment for Medicare. But are they also required to reeducate us about the “benefits” of Obamacare?

If you were watching cable news programs in November and December, you might have seen this advertisement, where an elderly woman tells her walking companion about the “new benefits” seniors get under the new health care law:


Or perhaps you saw this second ad, featuring two senior citizens in a coffee shop. Right off the bat, one woman says, “We’re getting new Medicare benefits from the new health care law!”


These benefit claims are a bit misleading, since Obamacare offsets its astronomical costs with cuts to Medicare Advantage. But beyond that, are commercials reminding seniors about open enrollment deadlines really the place for propagandizing? 

Contrast these to a 2009 Medicare ad that simply informed senior citizens of the dates of open enrollment and provided a website and phone number.

The 2010 campaign, which also included ads running in Parade magazine, cost taxpayers $8.5 million, according to a spokesman for CMS. Between these TV ads and HHS paying Google for better search results, perhaps the administration is getting concerned about Obamacare's still low approval ratings.

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