Anger, Seniors And Ad Campaigns: Health Reform Politics

A poll released Tuesday shows most seniors in Medicare's prescription drug benefit program don't know that the health law "closes Part D's coverage gap," The Hill's Healthwatch blog reports. "The findings are bad news for Democrats, who are hoping that seniors — among the most reliable voters in midterm elections — will flock to the polls next month in support of the party who backed the new benefits. Yet just 20 percent of Part D beneficiaries are aware that the law cuts the cost of name-brand drug in half next year through the donut hole, according to the survey, conducted by KRC Research for the Medicare Today coalition, an advocacy group" (Lillis, 10/12).

Politico reports that celebrities America Ferrera and Jack Black have teamed with Health Care for America Now — a pro-health law group, to "educate Americans about the health care reform bill [through satire]. … In the video — produced by Health Care for America Now — Ferrera plays a teacher while Black plays the role of 'Nathan Spewman,' a 'professional misinformant' who goes to school to spread rumors about the act and attempt to sway children in his favor. 'Hey did you hear Obama is gonna kill our grandmas?' Spewman asks a boy in one scene." The video is part of an HCAN education campaign (Parnes, 10/12).

CQ HealthBeat: "A Catholic group in Pennsylvania is running a radio ad against House Democrats Paul Kanjorski and Christopher Carney, who are Catholic" for voting for the health overhaul. The ad also blames the health law for the sale of three Catholic hospitals near Scranton, Pa. (Adams, 10/12).

In Pennsylvania, the candidates for Senate there "touted new endorsements Tuesday and skirmished over Social Security and health care as a fresh batch of attack ads hit the airwaves with three weeks left until the general election," The Associated Press reports. The race is between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak (Levy, 10/12).

The Hill's Healthwatch reports in a separate story on Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller, who "is running on a platform of fiscal conservatism that includes opposition to such federal programs as Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance." Miller said this week that he will no longer discuss when his family took Medicaid. "Last week, for instance, Miller admitted his family received health benefits through Medicaid and Denali Care, Alaska's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Both programs are funded primarily with federal dollars" (Lillis, 10/12).

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