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Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Obamacare Ads

June 5, 2012
Weekly Columns

The Department of Health and Human Services recorded a curious line item recently.  The health care agency reported spending $20 million in taxpayer money on a contract with public relations firm Porter Novelli to design a national multimedia campaign to promote the Affordable Care Act, more commonly called Obamacare. 

Ostensibly, the purpose of the ad campaign is to "inform the American people about the many preventative benefits now available to those with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act."  But the American people are not so easily fooled.   We've all seen the surveys indicating that the bill remains deeply unpopular, and we know damage control when we see it. 

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously stated, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it."  Even though the most damaging Obamacare provisions were conveniently postponed until 2013 and have yet to take effect, familiarity with the law is not breeding acceptance.  In fact, it seems the more the American people learn about Obamacare, the more they oppose it.  From families worried about rising premiums and decreased health care access to business leaders who have publically, repeatedly stated that they simply can't afford to make new hires under Obamacare's crippling costs, the American people remain deeply concerned about the law.  As the Supreme Court deliberates the constitutionality of the law, a recent Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters found that 55 percent of respondents favor repealing the law, including 43 percent who strongly favor repeal. 

Incurring such frivolous expenses during a time when historic deficits are forcing spending cuts even  for legitimate programs serves as yet another indication that the Obama administration simply does not have the same priorities as the majority of average Americans.  Throughout the first year of the recession, the millions of workers losing their jobs, savings and homes rightly expected Congress to work together to revive the economy.  Instead, President Obama squandered a year of the legislative calendar forcing through his health care bill over the vocal opposition of the American people.  Two years later, unemployment remains high, yet President Obama is still wasting time and taxpayer money promoting his misguided bill -- that is, when he isn't busy derailing the Keystone pipeline and its 20,000 jobs.

With out-of-control deficits, it is unacceptable to squander taxpayer money on what is essentially political propaganda.    A $20 million ad campaign won't change the fact that a majority of Americans don't want the federal government interfering with their health care.  Paying $20 million to promote a policy that may soon be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court is the very definition of the wasteful Washington spending we simply can't afford.