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  • HHS Inks $20 Million Contract to Sell Obamacare to Skeptical Public

    The Department of Health and Human Services has inked a $20 million contract with a top public-relations firm to sell aspects of the Obamacare law to the American public.

    According to a report in PR Week, HHS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has awarded the contract to PR firm Porter Novelli. The firm has offices worldwide, and boasts PepsiCo, Hewlett Packard, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as existing clients.

    According to The Hill, the Porter Novelli campaign is “designed to educate the public about how to stay healthy and prevent illnesses.” It will do so by highlighting provisions of Obamacare.

    The PR push is part of a sustained effort to try to sell the unpopular Obamacare law to the American public. Last year, HHS asked Congress to quadruple the budget for its public affairs office – to nearly $20 million – and nearly double the size of the office’s staff. The department insisted the changes were necessary to “help Americans understand and access their benefits and information under the law.”

    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:

    • The Obama HHS launched a campaign to track Internet searches and to use online search engines such as Google and Yahoo to drive traffic to a government website promoting Obama’s health care overhaul. Using “pay-per-click” advertising tools, such as Google Adwords, HHS purposely targeted people searching the term “Obamacare,” a word that has been described as “disparaging” by political agents of the president.
    • According to a budget summary prepared by Ogilvy, from October 2010 through February 2011, the Obama administration spent $1,435,009 on these online advertisements alone, including advertising campaigns with Google and Yahoo, almost $300,000 per month.
    • 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 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.

    This isn’t the first time HHS has tried to convince the American people about the benefits of a government-run health care program. After passage of a controversial Medicare prescription drug plan in 2003, the Bush administrated budgeted $123.6 million for ads touting the program. Some of the TV ads associated with the campaign drew fire for using actors who posed as journalists.

    Posted in Obamacare, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to HHS Inks $20 Million Contract to Sell Obamacare to Skeptical Public

    1. Stirling says:

      Annother waste of Taxpayer Dollars.. I guess they realize that "Having to pass it before seeing whats in it" was a bad idea. The problem is like anything the backdooring of this legleslation overshaddows any "Education" that they will do now.. Using our Tax Dollars to "Educate" us makes it even more offensive and an example of why this administration must be voted out in novemeber.

    2. Doug Ragan says:

      You don't like it, so we are going to spend your money until you do like it.

    3. dcjdavis says:

      Spending taxpayer's dollars on a monster sales pitch for a bureaucratic octopus the taxpayers will never be sold on. Have mercy. Round and round we go and whoosh…down the toilet.

    4. Bright Knight says:

      Wouldn't it be a good idea to wait with such expenses until the Supreme Court decides about Obamacare? Just asking…..

    5. Bobbie says:

      “designed to educate the public about how to stay healthy and prevent illnesses?” For one, nobody does either of these two things better than ones own self control that nobody but ones own can control. No public funding necessary! People have their own resources. For two, this wasteful spending shows the direct inconsideration of what people don't want with no complaints at this level regarding what they had or didn't have. Nobody in the right mind asked for this. More slaps to the face! This spending also shows the inefficient, extraordinary, consequential lengths they will go to to further force their unconstitutional issue by their treasonous overtake and takeover!

      PepsiCo, Hewlett Packard, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as existing clients?

      Pepsi? One of my two favorites? That can't be right? I thought they were for the American people? Now they want to feed us to the government? Hewlett Packard? My favorite job worked with you. Where I first met you and admired you, immensely. You want to throw Americans to the government? Americans that do business with you who respect your integrity? How could you? CDCP are already losers from the entities of government so how much more are they being paid on top of what they get as if it wasn't protocol?

      This is appalling but gives honest merit to Coke. And It's on sale this week!!!!!! We'll have to boycott both of you!! And the restaurants and businesses that serve you!!!!!! CDCP can kiss it! This is deeply disappointing. Thank you for revealing businesses behind government! It'll take a while to get over the shock but we as PEOPLE, CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH and need it! Repeal Obamacare! We do better for ourselves with accountability, the costs of government control doesn't hold themselves to!

    6. sammyhains says:

      This is a $20 million taxpayer-funded 0bama campaign ad buy.
      Political corruption and double-dealing at its lowest.

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