KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Andy Griffith Medicare Ad Prompts Showdown With GOP

Veteran television star Andy Griffith appeared in a new commercial for Medicare that promotes health law changes the administration says should help seniors, such as free wellness visits and lower drug costs, U.S. News & World Report writes. "The commercial, launched on the 45th anniversary of Medicare last week, is part of a public education campaign about changes to Medicare benefits. Retirees' knowledge about the health reform law's impact on Medicare remains mixed. For example, only half of seniors know that the Affordable Care Act will gradually close the doughnut hole gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage and just a third are aware that the legislation eliminates co-pays and deductible for some preventative care services, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in July" (Brandon, 8/3).

But, Republicans are not happy about the ad. Congress Daily reports: "Andy Griffith is finding out that the peaceful streets of Mayberry are nothing compared to the mean streets of Washington, D.C. The actor who played a fictional small-town sheriff on television is the latest to get caught in the crossfire of the healthcare war between Republicans who want to repeal the new overhaul law and Democrats who want to shine a positive light as it is implemented." Several senior GOP senators say the ad uses tax dollars to support the agenda of the Democratic Party and is misleading and sent a letter complaining about it to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (McCarthy, 8/4).

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