What a coincidence! The Department of Health and Human Services have an ad campaign that, oddly enough, falls right in the middle of the midterm elections that “advises” seniors on the wonders of ObamaCare. Politico’s Sarah Kliff explains:
The Obama administration has spent approximately $3 million on TV ads discussing the benefits of health care reform this month – three times what was spent by pro-reform candidates and groups but almost nothing compared to the $21 million spent on anti-reform ads. The Department of Health and Human Services insists that the ads are not political and that the spending is in line with what the agency has done in the past to advise seniors about the open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage plans, which begins Nov. 15. But the ads discuss benefits specific to the Democrats’ health care reform law, such as the closing of the prescription drug “doughnut hole,” the 50 percent discount on drugs purchased in the coverage gap and the new coverage for an annual wellness visit, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokesman Tony Salters said.
Er, wouldn’t it make more sense to run the ads closer to the first day of open enrollment — say, the week before? Not only would that information get more attention, it also wouldn’t get lost in the deluge of political advertising. It also would be less expensive, given the high demand for air time created by the political campaigns in this season.
Last year, they didn’t bother to publish their open-enrollment ad (which did not have any “advising” content other than noting the open enrollment) until November 20th, as the HHS YouTube channel shows.
This looks like an attempt by HHS to influence the midterm elections by entering the political debate over the deeply unpopular ObamaCare legislation. That is fine for candidates to do with their own campaign funds, or for outside organizations like Organizing for America with their own funds, if they choose to spend money defending the bill. Using taxpayer funds from HHS looks very much like propaganda under the guise of “advising” seniors, especially with the timing of this ad buy. It adds to the list of propaganda campaigns that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) will investigate after Republicans take control of Congress in January.