The American people do not support Obamacare. This much we know. So I’m willing to bet they’re going to be furious when they learn that the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to spend as much as $200 million on a propaganda campaign to convince them they’re wrong about the president’s socialist health care overhaul.
Last week Judicial Watch obtained documents from HHS that provide new details on a massive, taxpayer-funded, multimedia campaign designed to promote the Affordable Health Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and other HHS policy initiatives (such as the anti-obesity — or food control — campaign that is a vanity project of Michelle Obama). According to the records, which we obtained through a March 23, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the total cost of this campaign, which notably targets Obama’s electoral coalition, could reach as much as $200 million over the next five years!
The following are highlights from the documents, which you can read in full here:
- An April 27, 2010, Department of Health and Human Services Acquisition Plan entitled “National Multimedia & Education Campaign & Grassroots Outreach,” details a comprehensive five-year communications program covering a variety of HHS policy initiatives, including “health care reform.”
•According to a section of the Acquisition Plan entitled, “Independent Government Cost Estimate,” the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) states: “ASPA is unable to provide a definitive government cost estimate. Campaigns vary is [sic] size and scope. Some campaigns involve radio, some TV, and some print. Other campaigns may involve all of those avenues plus on ground events, website, bus tours, etc.” However, “ASPA is letting this contract in order [to] produce three to four campaigns per year through the life-cycle of the contract. We are requesting a contract with a $200,000,000 maximum.”
- According to a subsequent March 14, 2011, contract included among the documents, HHS hired The Ogilvy Group “to provide services to design, develop, and execute a multiplatform educational media campaign to promote the new website Healthcare.gov, including the new Spanish language version of the website.” The total amount of the contract awarded was: $3,998,928.
- The Ogilvy contract “task order” describes the purpose of the Healthcare.gov website: “To accompany such a monumental piece of legislation [The Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare], the law charged the Department of Health and Human Services with the creation of a website to aide [sic] Americans about the health insurance coverage options available to them.” (U.S. Senator Charles Grassley has deemed the HHS online program “state-sponsored propaganda.”)
- The Ogilvy contract also describes the “audiences” that will receive “targeted messaging” during the campaign: “Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Young People, Women/Mothers,” all considered key target demographics for the Obama reelection campaign.
•According to the Ogilvy contract, HHS sought to receive “media training” in the following areas, among others: “controlling your message,” “handling hostile interviews,” “artful repetition,” “identifying loaded questions” and “being persuasive.”
And now for the really creepy part…
Here’s how the HHS describes the key to success for this campaign: “Health and program-related messages are processed by the target audience according to a particular reality, which he or she experiences. Attitudes, feelings, values, needs, desires, behaviors and beliefs all play a part in the individual’s decision to accept information and make a behavioral change. It is by understanding the importance of these characteristics that health and program-related messages can be targeted to the beneficiary in effective ways.”
So, in other words, the Obama administration is paying hired guns a lot of your money to manipulate you into “accepting” the Obama way and “changing” your behavior.
That’s certainly what HHS was trying to do with a series of three Medicare television advertisements featuring actor Andy Griffith. As Judicial Watch uncovered through FOIA, the Obama Administration spent $3,184,000 in taxpayer funds to produce and air the advertisements on national television in September and October 2010.
The administration said it was merely trying to “educate” Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members “about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act.” However, according to FactCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, the advertisements intentionally misinformed the American people.
There was nothing “educational” about the Griffith ads. And there is nothing “educational” about this $200 million multimedia Obamacare propaganda campaign. These records prove the administration is using taxpayer dollars to manipulate public opinion, while, at the same time, getting a leg-up in the reelection campaign by targeting the Obama electoral coalition with positive but misleading messages about the president’s “signature policy initiative.”
This Big Brother campaign is most certainly underhanded, potentially unlawful, and it must be stopped. If Congress is looking for a place to trim the federal debt, this is a good place to start.