The New York Times reports President Obama will begin a new media effort Tuesday designed to convince skeptical American voters that Obamacare is a good thing.
Kicking off the propaganda push is “a nationally televised question-and-answer session” with seniors where the administration will highlight a $250 Medicare Part D rebate check. Yet relatively few seniors will actually receive the check.
According to numbers provided in a letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Congressional leadership (May 11, 2010) only 4 million of the 45 million Medicare enrollees are expected to receive a one-time rebate check. That means 9 out of 10 Medicare beneficiaries won’t get a check.
According to a letter from CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf to Speaker Pelosi (March 20, 2010), Medicare spending will be cut under Obamacare by $8,980 per enrollee over the next ten years (estimating $528 billion in Medicare cuts, which was divided by 58.8 million enrollees, the Medicare Trustees’ prediction for 2018 enrollment).
The House Ways and Means Committee’s Republican staff reminds us that Obama’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services analysis contradicts the new White House misinformation campaign:
1. The Obama Administration’s own Medicare actuaries’ warning that the one-half trillion dollars in Medicare cuts could jeopardize seniors’ access to care;
2. The Obama Administration’s own Medicare actuaries’ prediction that 7.4 million Medicare beneficiaries who would have been enrolled in a Medicare health plan will lose their plan because of the $206 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA);
3. CBO’s prediction that the value of extra benefits received by seniors enrolled in MA plans will be slashed by $816, on average, in 2019;
4. The fact that millions of retirees are at risk of losing their retiree health coverage as a result new taxes on retiree prescription drug coverage that employers will be subjected to; and
5. CBO’s estimate that Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums will increase by 9 percent as a result of the Democrats’ health law.
“They don’t have a PR problem, they have a policy problem,” Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Committee on Ways and Means told HUMAN EVENTS. “The health care law is simply bad for seniors, bad for business and bad for workers. No amount of town halls can change that fact.”
If Obama makes it clear that few seniors will receive the rebate check it would defeat the purpose of the propaganda effort. In that light, I would also argue that 41 million seniors checking their mailboxes every day for $250 that’s not coming could also present a PR problem.