Senate Dems question admin over funding anti-ObamaCare effort

Senate Dems question admin over funding anti-ObamaCare effort
© Keren Carrion

A group of Senate Democrats is raising concerns to the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) about its role in a public relations campaign aimed at effectively undermining ObamaCare.

Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Governors criticize Trump move on pre-existing conditions Bipartisan group of senators asks FDA to examine drug shortages Trump faces Father’s Day pleas to end separations of migrant families MORE (Conn.) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) raised the concerns in a letter to HHS, The Daily Beast reported.

“We are concerned that the use of appropriated funds to promote legislation pending before Congress violate both HHS’s constitutional responsibility to implement existing law, and legal prohibitions against using taxpayer dollars to lobby in favor of pending legislation,” the trio wrote.

The senators asked for records of money spent by the department on anti-Obamacare videos that were posted on the department’s website.

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The publication first reported that HHS was spending taxpayer money on a public relations effort that included video testimonials aimed at undermining former President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

HHS showcases a series of testimonial videos of families, doctors, healthcare professionals and female small business owners who are “burdened by ObamaCare.”

HHS Secretary Tom Price is also shown in a video praising Senate GOP efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

HHS spokeswoman Alleigh Marré told The Daily Beast in a statement that the videos help HHS "to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans."

"As evidenced by these important and educational testimonials, the status quo has made that impossible for millions of Americans," she said.

"The Administration is committed to reforming the current healthcare system to bring down the cost of coverage, expand healthcare choices, and strengthen the safety net for generations to come.” 

The Democratic senators also took issue with Price’s anti-ObamaCare tweets, saying the Anti-Lobbying Act prevents government employees from participating in “substantial grassroots lobbying” that push members of the public to contact members of congress on a particular issue.

The main HHS Twitter account retweeted Price several times, who had tweeted clips of the anti-ObamaCare testimonial videos.