Outreach or Propaganda?

When it comes to the overheated rhetoric of the health reform debate, a brochure is never just a brochure. Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently sent a four-page mailing to seniors called “Medicare and the New Health Care Law—What It Means for You.” Almost immediately, Republicans in Congress blasted the communication as government-funded propaganda and demanded that the Government Accountability Office investigate the claims made in the brochure.
The GOP lawmakers have a long list of complaints about the brochure, starting with the fact that even though it is being sent to Medicare beneficiaries, it includes information about how the new health reform law benefits children with preexisting conditions and early retirees under age 65 years.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Photo courtesy of HHS.

But Republicans say the brochure also leaves out plenty of information. For example, they take issue with the claim that seniors will still have a choice of physicians. Instead, GOP lawmakers counter that, because Democrats didn’t provide a fix to the Medicare physician fee formula in health reform, doctors may choose not to see Medicare patients.

The Obama administration is proud of their brochure and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended it at a press briefing earlier today. She said the brochure will set the record straight on what changes health reform will bring to the Medicare program as well as what will stay the same. And she said seniors need correct information to protect them from criminals who have been using the law as a pretext for scams.

 Take a look at the brochure and let us know, is it fact or fiction? 

— Mary Ellen Schneider (on Twitter @MaryEllenNY) 

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Filed under Health Policy, health reform, IMNG, Physician Reimbursement, Practice Trends

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