As Congress probes expensive public-relations contracts to market the unpopular Obamacare law to the American public, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that it has inked a deal worth more than $3 million to promote Obamacare’s “exchanges.”
CMS, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, will pay PR firm Weber Shandwick at least $3.1 million for the new contract, according to a report in PR Week. Weber will promote state-based health care “exchanges” established by Obamacare.
The contract is the second major HHS contract landed by Weber. It inked a $3.4 million deal in 2010 to help Medicare patients spot and prevent fraud.
PR Week reports:
Weber will create a strategic plan with short- and long-term tactics for exchange outreach and education. The agency will also promote early awareness and foster engagement with consumers to help them learn more about coverage that they may be eligible for, as well as to promote upcoming enrollment periods, according to the RFP.
News of this latest PR contract comes on the heels of criticism from congressional Republicans over efforts to market Obamacare through popular television shows. “Americans’ hard-earned money should not be taken by government to subsidize Hollywood and insert propaganda into the popular culture,” a group of lawmakers said of that effort.
Conservatives have also criticized a larger, multi-million effort to sell the Obamacare law. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has dubbed taxpayer-funded ads promoting the law “propaganda,” and noted that HHS’s pro-Obamacare PR spending dwarfs all such spending by third-party proponents of the law.