White House to take healthcare to TV

July 30, 2010 at 7:38 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- The Obama administration is taking to the airwaves to sell U.S. seniors, a key voting bloc, on Medicare provisions in the healthcare reform law, officials said.

With polls showing a majority of seniors skeptical of health reform, the White House is buying $700,000 worth of cable television advertising time for commercials featuring actor Andy Griffith talking up the included benefits, Politico reported.

"With the new healthcare law, more good things are coming -- free checkups, lower prescription costs and better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud," Griffith says in the 30-second spot, which premiered Friday as part of a Medicare open enrollment campaign that will continue through December.

Seniors are the demographic most skeptical of the new health reform law, polls have shown. Forty-six percent of seniors surveyed viewed the law unfavorably, compared with 38 percent who viewed it favorably, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found.

Just over one-third believe that the law will "allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare," the poll indicated.

Republicans called the cable spot a "slick taxpayer-funded ad" that did not mention health reform's reductions in spending on Medicare Advantage plans.

"Americans never wanted this bill," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, "and they're reminded every day why they opposed it in the first place."

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