California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Administration Keeps Up Promotion of Health Care Overhaul

The Obama administration is continuing to promote the federal health reform law despite sustained criticism from Republicans and other opponents of the overhaul, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.

However, the White House and HHS have deployed a considerably low-key approach by releasing a steady stream of positive reports, press releases and blog posts, instead of putting President Obama in the spotlight to promote the overhaul.

According to "Healthwatch," public opinion polls have shown that the health reform law remains unpopular with most voters, primarily because many of them have not grasped a clear understanding of its benefits. An administration official said the strategy of releasing a constant flow of information and announcements is designed to appeal to those voters and explain how the law works.

While the administration frequently emphasizes larger provisions of the law as they are implemented and generate benefits for consumers, officials also have been highlighting less-prominent policies that affect local communities and organizations. For example, HHS recently noted how Medicare beneficiaries have benefited from new discounts on prescription drugs, while the White House blog publicized new federal grants to build, renovate and expand community health centers.

Douglas Schoen, a Democratic strategist, said the administration is deploying the best possible methods to promote the law, which could be struck down by the Supreme Court later this summer. "Because there is such a risk of them potentially losing the election over health care, they feel they are obliged -- required -- to advocate for the law," Schoen added (Baker/Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 5/3).

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