Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted the Obama administration on Tuesday for using flyers to Medicare patients to praise the health reform law.
McConnell took offense to the flyers for saying the new law will "preserve and strengthen" Medicare. And he pointed out that the Department of Health and Human Services lambasted private Medicare Advantage plans when they used similar communications to their members to raise concerns with the health reform law before it was passed.
“Here’s the federal government telling a private business it can’t communicate with its clients about important legislation, then doing the same thing itself, on the taxpayers’ dime," McConnell said on the Senate floor.
Democrats quickly shot back, saying Republicans didn't object when the George W. Bush administration used communications with seniors to highlight its Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. An official HHS document from that period reads: "America, Pull up a Chair - We've Got Something Good to Talk About."
A spokesman for McConnell said the senator didn't take issue with the administration communicating with seniors, only with the gag order and the fact that the flyer does not mention that the chief actuary for the Medicare agency has said Medicare Advantage customers will lose benefits as a result of the health reform law.