They aren’t campaign ads, but two new television commercials from the Obama administration that promote the president’s health law may also be boosting its image.
The ads, which began airing this summer, tout the law’s preventive services benefits, including coverage of vaccinations, mammograms and other screenings. For many people, these services will now be available through their health insurance without a co-pay or out-of-pocket costs.
“Right now, millions of Americans are using their preventive benefits from the health care law. You can, too,” says one of the ads’ voiceovers.
Asked about the campaign, a Department of Health and Human Services official noted that the health law itself called for an “education and outreach campaign.” Section 4004 says that, along with explaining the new preventive benefits, the campaign should describe “the importance of utilizing preventive services to promote wellness, reduce health disparities, and mitigate chronic disease.”
Opponents of the law have criticized HHS for its spending on promotional campaigns. In May, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., raised concerns over a $20 million contract that HHS signed with a public relations firm.
Their displeasure has not since dissipated.
“It doesn’t take a 2,700-page law that raises costs and premiums, hikes taxes on the middle class and raids Medicare to improve preventive health,” wrote Michael Brumas, a McConnell spokesman, in an email this week to Kaiser Health News.
Portman, who has been mentioned as a potential VP pick for Mitt Romney, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to request more information about the PR contract. Having not yet received a response, Portman filed an amendment July 31 that would require Sebelius to comply with his request.
Here are the ads, along with transcripts:
Today a mom will see her doctor, a dad will get a screening, a little one will get a vaccine, and a teen will talk with a doc. Right now, millions of Americans are using their preventive benefits from the health care law. You can, too. Not just because there may be no insurance co-pays or out-of-pocket costs, but because of all those tomorrows you want to see. Use your benefits today. Learn more at healthcare.gov.
It isn’t just your mammogram — it’s your teenager’s first varsity game. It isn’t just your annual exam — it’s your daughter’s wedding. Did you know with your health insurance you may now have some preventive benefits with no co-pays or out-of-pocket costs? It isn’t just your cholesterol screening — it’s all the tomorrows you’re looking forward to. Learn more at healthcare.gov.