HCAN Phone Campaign Warns Seniors in 10 States About False Ads Spreading Fears About Medicare

Coalition to Educate More Than
One-Half Million Seniors 

 

Washington, DCHealth Care for
America Now
(HCAN), the 1,000-member coalition that led
the successful fight for health reform, launched a 10-state
telephone campaign today to warn a half-million seniors about
deceptive television ads designed to scare them into thinking
their Medicare-provided health care will be disrupted. The
biggest lie in the ads is that the Affordable
Care Act (ACA), enacted on March 23, will cut the guaranteed
Medicare benefits seniors receive. That is a falsehood spread
by insurance industry interests trying to protect their
excessive profits. The leading seniors group, AARP, says that’s
not
true and that the law is filled with good things for
Medicare and its enrollees
.

“The ACA
strengthens Medicare by protecting and improving guaranteed
benefits and cracking down on waste, fraud and inefficiency,”
said HCAN Executive Director Ethan Rome.
“It will keep Medicare financially stable for 12 years longer
than if the law hadn’t been passed, and it prevents cuts to
Medicare’s guaranteed benefits, and reduces the cost of
prescription drugs.”

The telephone
campaign is now underway in the states and congressional
districts of senators Harry Reid (NV), Barbara Boxer
(CA), Russell Feingold (WI) and candidate Joe Sestak
(PA); and representatives Melissa Bean, Bill
Foster
and Deborah Halvorson (IL); Mark
Schauer
and Gary Peters (MI); Scott Murphy,
Bill Owens and Daniel Maffei (NY); John
Boccieri
and Mary Jo Kilroy (OH); Christopher
Carney
, Kathy Dahlkemper, Paul Kanjorski,
and Patrick J. Murphy (PA); Dina Titus (NV); Steve
Kagen
(WI); Tom Perriello (VA); and Suzanne
Kosmas
and Alan Grayson (FL).

The flood of
misleading attack ads is being produced by front groups with
secret funding from health insurance companies and other big
corporations in the U.S. and overseas. They include the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, 60 Plus Association, American Crossroads
GPS and American Action Network. Funded with hundreds of
millions of dollars in huge, secret contributions from the
richest people and companies in the world, they play fast and
loose with the truth.

“These ads
are smearing the records of people who stood up to the insurance
companies and ended the worst abuses of consumers,” Rome said.
“The health care law improves health care for families, seniors
and businesses. This effort is about warning people they
shouldn’t be fooled by the onslaught of insurance
company-sponsored propaganda.”

Media Matters
has compiled a catalog of the 60 Plus Association’s misrepresentations
and falsehoods
about health reform going back to the
middle of the legislative fight last year. An
analysis
by the highly regarded and nonpartisan FactCheck.org
confirms that these ads are based on numerous falsehoods and
distortions. FactCheck.org, a project of the University of
Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, wrote in a Sept.
17 report: “Most of the ads conclude with someone looking at the
camera and pretending to tell the targeted lawmaker, ‘You’re
fired!’ Our question is, who gets fired for making misleading
ads?”

The HCAN
telephone campaign will deliver pre-recorded messages warning
that the front groups’ flood of TV ads is filled with
falsehoods. Last month HCAN
asked
83 television stations serving 16 congressional districts to
stop airing false television ads bought by 60 Plus with more
than $5 million in funding from mystery donors.

Some ads say
that the new law means “seniors could lose their doctors” or
that it “threatens seniors’ ability to keep their own doctor.”
Nothing in the ACA restricts any Medicare enrollee’s access to
the doctor of their choice. Many of the ads feature seniors
saying the law will “hurt the quality of our care.” The truth is
that the law forbids reductions in guaranteed Medicare benefits,
adds no-cost preventive services, closes the “doughnut hole” gap
in the prescription drug benefit and makes substantial
improvements in quality of care.