House Republicans Criticize Efforts To Get Health Law A Starring Role In TV Shows

House Republican lawmakers criticize efforts to enlist a PR firm to pitch TV shows on ways to address the health law in story lines. Meanwhile, one House Democrat introduced legislation to increase the number of government-supported medical residencies as a way to address the nation's looming doctor shortage.

The Hill: Republicans Blast California's Move To Hype Health Care Law On TV Shows
Republican lawmakers want to know why California hired a PR firm to promote the Affordable Care Act law on popular television shows such as "Modern Family" and "The Biggest Loser." The Golden State made headlines when its insurance exchange — created by the healthcare law — hired Ogilvy Public Relations to pitch TV shows on story lines involving President Obama's signature law. On Friday, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pushed the Obama administration on whether the $900,000 Ogilvy contract is the right use of taxpayer dollars (Viebeck, 9/28).

The Hill: House Dem Floats Bill To Ward Off Doctor Shortage
One House Democrat wants to increase the number of government-backed hospital residencies to fight the looming doctor shortage. A new bill from Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) would up the number of Medicare-supported residencies by 15,000 over five years to about 102,000 positions total. The cap on Medicare residency positions has not been lifted in 15 years, Crowley said. "We face a cruel irony: retiring baby boomers and the newly-insured, now covered through the Affordable Care Act, will be accessing our health care system in greater numbers, but we won’t have nearly enough doctors on-the-ready to deliver the healthcare services they’ll need," the Queens-based representative said in a statement. "A doctor shortage is something we just can't ignore" (Viebeck, 9/28).

In addition, a question of whether it's about policy or politics -

Medpage Today: CDC On Obesity: Public Health Or Politics?
The CDC has operated generally with bipartisan support for several decades regardless of who was in the White House or which party controlled Congress. Campaigns targeting the issues the CDC has championed -- such as tobacco cessation and obesity prevention -- were funded and backed with little objection. Its hallmark issues have varied little with the political ideology of whichever party controlled Washington. But now, projects the CDC funds are gaining increased attention from Republicans in Washington, who are saying the CDC's latest efforts are blurring the line between lobbying and what a federal agency can support (Pittman, 9/29).

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