Originally published April 27 2013
HHS spending millions in taxpayer money to run Obamacare PR campaign
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Every supporter of Obamacare, from the president on down, has spent hours upon hours and expended exhaustive amounts of energy telling Americans what a wonderful law it is and how fortunate we are to finally have the federal government running (sorry - "managing") our healthcare system.
So why is Uncle Sam spending tens of millions of our tax dollars on public relations campaigns aimed at convincing us what we supposedly should already know?
And yet, that's exactly what the federal government is doing. According to the investigative Washington Free Beacon, the Department of Health and Human Services - the agency charged with implementing Obamacare - just announced a multi-million dollar PR contract "to convince people to join the program and keep it from collapsing..."
'Obamacare's functional defects are becoming a liability'At present, enrollment in the healthcare "exchanges" the law establishes is lagging far behind what is needed to make them viable. Those in Congress who drafted the Affordable Care Act have warned that HHS may not be able to establish a functional insurance marketplace, so the government is spending millions to boost enrollment numbers (isn't this yet another sign that most voters just don't like Obamacare?).
Health care expert Bob Domenech, of the Heartland Institute, said problems arising from the implementation of the law might "scare off" some Americans who have already been confused by the massive new regulatory schemes that are Obamacare.
"Obamacare's functional defects are becoming a liability, and the train wreck is getting closer, so the administration wants to get as many people dependent on it as fast as possible when it launches, whether the exchanges and other systems are ready for them or not," Domenech told the WFB.
The state of Maryland may wind up being the test bed for Obamacare. That state's chief executive, Gov. Martin O'Malley, has embraced the law eagerly, even announcing the creation of a health care task force a day after the president signed it into law.
But Maryland has struggled with the law's implementation. In fact, the state's health department said in mid-April that it will delay setting up health insurance exchanges for small businesses.
In a potential "opps!" moment, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already held up Maryland as a state "showing leadership" in actively attempting to set up Obamacare exchanges. Critics say problems there could spill over into efforts nationwide.
The HHS PR contract signed earlier this month is part of a stepped-up effort by the Obama Administration that should peak in October, when the exchanges are supposed to be up and running, WFB said. But even the law's supporters have said it's doubtful the government will meet that deadline.
Previous PR contracts include a $20 million deal with the firm Porter Novelli in May 2012, as well as another, with Weber Shandwick, five months later, worth $3.1 million. Weber also got the HHS contract announced this month.
'No public relations campaign will convince them'
In a statement emailed to the WFB, an HHS official said the most recent contract would pay for an ad campaign which "will use a range of communications tactics, with an emphasis on paid media and digital outreach, to make the uninsured aware of the marketplace and the health insurance options available to them."
"The initial task order is for about $8 million with the option to increase our investment based on performance," said the official, according to the website.
As have past HHS public relations contracts, the recently announced Weber deal drew hefty criticism from the law's opponents on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a member of the Congressional Health Care Caucus, bashed the administration in a statement to the WFB for "spending millions of hard-earned in taxpayer dollars on an advertising campaign to tell Americans what's 'good for them' in the flawed and harmful healthcare law."
"As Americans are harmed because of these disastrous policies, no public relations campaign will convince them otherwise," said Price.
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