Right Now

Mar 17 2011

Medicare Ad Wars: Propaganda vs. Program Integrity, 4 to 1?

HHS Spent At Least 4 Times As Much on Ads Promoting Controversial Law Than on Educating Seniors How to Combat Fraud

Ads to Educate Seniors About Medicare Fraud: $165,000. HHS has announced a national media campaign to target Medicare fraud. This television and radio campaign is meant to educate consumers, specifically seniors, about fraud. It will emphasize the importance of protecting sensitive personal information (like Medicare ID numbers). It will run nationally, but focus on the fraud “hot spots” around the country. Specifically, the Administration on Aging has contracted to develop Public Service Announcements (PSA) to increase awareness of the Senior Medicare Patrols (SMP) fraud prevention message and provide a "call to action" for seniors to help fight fraud by becoming an SMP volunteer. The contract, for $165K, includes development of 60,30 and 15 second PSAs in Spanish and English for both radio and TV, development of a media campaign toolkit and distribution of PSAs to media outlets nationwide.

Ads to Persuade Seniors About PPACA’s $530 Billion Medicare Cuts: $700,000+. In responding to a letter from Sens. Coburn, Barrasso, McCain and Thune on HHS’s controversial ads about Medicare featuring Andy Griffith, Secretary Sebelius submitted information from CMS that said the Administration spent at least $700,000 “to produce and run [the] first spot of the open enrollment campaign” that featured Andy Griffith. A second letter from Secretary Sebelius (attached) further outlined the full costs.