The White House and congressional Democrats on Wednesday continued their push to persuade seniors that the new health reform law is good for them.

The increased outreach to a group that disproportionately dislikes the new law comes as Republicans are redoubling their criticism that it's all taxpayer-funded propaganda.


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) at the Capitol to promote a new four-page brochure outlining the law's improvements to Medicare.

These include closing the Part D "doughnut hole" that requires seniors to pay full price for their drugs above a certain threshold, free preventive care, and increased efforts to combat fraud and abuse that endanger the program's solvency.

"It's our responsibility to get the word to seniors about what the facts are," Sebelius said.
Hoyer added that Democrats want the law's benefits to be "known and appreciated" by seniors.

The brochure praises "needed improvements that will keep Medicare strong and solvent," adding that "your guaranteed Medicare benefits won't change - whether you get them through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan."

Republicans are having none of it.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted the outreach efforts on the Senate floor Tuesday, pointing out that Sebelius had objected to private Medicare Advantage plans using its communications to seniors to raise concerns with the health reform law when it was being debated.

And, he adds, the chief actuary for the agency that oversees Medicare has raised concerns that the new law could lead to reduced Medicare Advantage benefits.

Sen. Pat Roberts raised similar objections in a letter he sent Wednesday to Sebelius, a fellow Kansan.

The "mailer is misleading, at best," Roberts wrote. "At worst, I fear it could represent taxpayer-financed government propaganda."