More of Your Tax Dollars Being Wasted?
At the Washington Examiner this afternoon Paul Bedard reported the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a public relations contract for $20 million to “Porter Novelli to tell the public how to stay healthy, an education mandate in the Affordable Care Act.” more frequently referred to as ObamaCare.
Bedard also said the PR contract “is coming under heavy GOP fire as a propaganda effort to prop up the embattled health reform law and the president.” However, he also wrote, “Federal officials dismissed the calls to kill the contract, arguing that it is required under the law. They have also refused to stall implementation of Obamacare while the Supreme Court decides its future.”
Despite that, an Investor’s Business Daily editorial reported:
“A Health and Human Services official let slip the real reason, telling Roll Call that the PR effort is meant "to inform the American people about the many preventive benefits now available ... as a result of the Affordable Care Act."
“In other words, this is more about burnishing ObamaCare's image before the election than meeting some public health imperative.
“Plus, since the law passed, the administration has been relentless in selling it to the public. As the Heritage Foundation notes, HHS pushed Congress to quadruple its public affairs budget. It also spent $1.4 million for an online search ad campaign designed to drive traffic to the ObamaCare website. And it worked extensively with liberal advocacy groups to sell the law.
“Too bad none of it is working. More than two-thirds of the public — including half of Democrats surveyed — want the Supreme Court to kill at least the individual mandate, according to a recent IBD/TIPP poll.
“The public knows that ObamaCare is a disaster."
In addition, the Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Foundry, reported “(a) Freedom of Information Act request filed by the group Judicial Watch last year revealed the lengths to which HHS has gone to attempt to sell Obamacare to a skeptical public,” citing such examples as:
- “A number of documents address the need to target the Obamacare propaganda campaign to Hispanics, blacks, and women. For example, according to an email from Chris Beakey, vice president of Ogilvy PR Worldwide, to HHS officials on Dec. 16, 2010, summarizing a conference call, “You want to utilize the bulk of their paid media efforts (which would include expenditures for Radio One and Univision) on media that reaches African Americans and Hispanics. The money will go farther and these audiences continue to be a top priority.”
- “A Jan. 18, 2011, email from Ogilvy to HHS New Media Communications Director Julia Eisman notes with respect to a Spanish banner ad campaign, “I realize we really can’t use the blond mom and child for this audience.”
The Heritage Foundation blog also noted:
“The Obama administration has also coordinated with liberal activist groups and friendly media organizations to spin the law in a positive light. Scribe published a four-page strategy memo in March that revealed the White House’s comprehensive public-relations campaign for the second anniversary of Obamacare and Supreme Court oral arguments.”
Not to be outdone, the left-liberal blog, Think Progres Health says, "In comparison, more than $262 million has been spent campaigning against Obamacare so far. Educating people about the benefits of Obamacare, such as that preventive services are available at no additional cost, and counteracting the misinformation campaign will be vital to the law’s success." As usual, though, liberals forget the government's so-called education campaign is paid for by the taxpayers.
UPDATE (5/24/12): The editorial in today's Washington Examiner concludes by saying:
" . . . A March 2012 Congressional Research Service Report found government agencies spent more than $900 million on contracts for advertising services in 2010 alone. Aside from the Pentagon, which uses advertising to recruit, the biggest spenders are HHS and the Treasury Department. Is any of this really necessary?
"Americans still hate Obamacare. According to a recent survey by Rasmussen Reports, 56 percent of likely voters want it repealed. It is bad enough that American citizens have to pay for the management and execution of federal programs they never wanted. They shouldn't have to pay for propaganda promoting these programs as well."
And the Washington Times also editorializes against the PR effort by HHS to support ObamaCare, saying in the lede paragraph:
"President Obama’s health care takeover is so unpopular with voters that he has stopped talking about it in public. Behind the scenes, however, he’s tapping into taxpayers’ pockets for a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to change their minds. Congress wants answers."