The Departments of Health and Human Services and Education are now acting as outlets for the Obama re-election campaign. In a press announcement released yesterday, HHS stated that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan “are reaching out to campus leaders to remind graduating high school, college and university seniors about their new health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act – the health care law.”
This is obvious propagandizing; under the old health care law, most insurance programs allowed dependent care coverage for people under the age of 21. So why would Sebelius and company be reaching out to high schoolers? The answer: those high schoolers are turning 18, and can therefore vote.
HHS and the Department of Education are therefore looking to use institutions as levers to push forward the Obama campaign. They sent a joint letter to universities asking them to post a “badge” on their websites telling students about the Affordable Care Act; they asked staffers to talk to students about insurance options; they want their propaganda brochures distributed.
It is illegal for departments of the federal government to campaign for particular candidates. The Obama administration has routinely played with how far they can push that envelope. This new propaganda effort certainly reaches beyond the realm of the acceptable.