Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle Calls HHS Information on New Medicare Law ‘Propaganda’
A two-page notice from HHS to Medicare beneficiaries explaining the new Medicare law (HR 1) is "just a piece of propaganda" that "has no business being paid for by the American taxpayer," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said on Wednesday, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (Sherman, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 1/14). Daschle's comments come in response to an announcement by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson that the department will send Medicare beneficiaries a two-page notice explaining the new law. The notice says that the law "preserves and strengthens the current Medicare program" and that beneficiaries "will still be able to choose doctors, hospitals and pharmacies." According to Thompson, many seniors are apprehensive about the new law, largely because Democratic presidential candidates are spreading misinformation about changes to the program (California Healthline, 1/13). Daschle and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) on Wednesday sent Thompson a letter requesting that he release the cost of the mailing and obtain an independent evaluation of the notice before sending it. HHS spokesperson Bill Pierce said that the mailing -- the first in a series of communications with beneficiaries about the law -- would be "straightforward" but gave no indication of when it would be sent. Daschle, who is holding public meetings on Medicare across South Dakota this week, said, "There is extraordinary concern about this legislation. Seniors are confused, they're scared and they're very disappointed" (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 1/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.