Friday, September 26, 2014

Report: Obama administration pays WebMD to propagandize Obamacare

doctor_obamaWebMD is the Wikipedia of general health information for the English-speaking world. That’s a rough comparison — WebMD also represents itself as an advocate for patients and a current events tracker for health issues. But it nevertheless collects more site visits than any other U.S. health information resource.

WebMD is a corporation; there’s nothing governmental or para-governmental about it. So it must have made perfect sense for the Obama administration to finger WebMD as the ideal proxy propaganda machine to promote the launch of Obamacare.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to pay WebMD for helping to carry out the “Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Health Care Priorities Educational Initiative” as part of a contract that extends through September of 2015.

According to the Free Beacon, the federal government has paid WebMD almost $14 million since contracting with the site in 2011 to show the public the good side of Obamacare. News of that agreement was made public last fall; but at the time, the contract was valued at only $4.8 million.

Crucial to the government’s enlistment of WebMD is its faith in the site as an “official” source of reliable health information. The Free Beacon quotes from the contract agreement:
“The goal of this task order is to encourage providers and consumers to turn to official information sources regarding the ACA and to create an accurate perception of the ACA among health care providers and consumers,” the document said.
Incredibly, WebMD’s entire section on “Health Care Reform” was not funded via the HHS contract, according to WebMD’s Michael Heinley.

“It is first important to point out that no government agency, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Health & Human Services (HHS) or any other third party funded the creation of WebMD’s editorial content (videos or otherwise) that appears in the WebMD Health Care Reform Center,” he told the Free Beacon. “The WebMD Health Care Reform Center provides original, independent editorial content produced by WebMD.”

So the contract is paying WebMD to write about every topic except Obamacare? Sounds like a glitch.

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