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Friday, September 25, 2009
MRC Ramps Up Misinformation on HHS Letter
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center continues its misinformation campaign on a letter issued by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding a letter sent by the health provider Humana to its Medicare Advantage enrollees.

In a Sept. 24 press release, the MRC falsely claimed that HHS "demanded all private health insurance companies immediately stop communicating how health care legislation might affect their Medicare Advantage customers' plans and threatened to prosecute them if they refused to comply." In fact, the letter stated that HHS was asking firms to "suspend potentially misleading mailings to beneficiaries about health care and insurance reform." It does not forbid all communication with its clients -- just those that mislead and can be interpreted as representing "official communication about the Medicare Advantage program"and those that misuse "the lists of Medicare enrollees for unauthorized purposes."

The MRC hyperbolically asserted that "This is an abuse of power that would shock even Richard Nixon," and MRC chief followed up by claiming that the Obama administration is mounting "an orchestrated and deliberate attempt to keep American citizens in the dark, particularly vulnerable seniors."

Again, HHS has not forbidden all communication between insurers and their Medicare clients. It has asked -- not ordered -- that insurers stop misleading their Medicare Advantage clinets and not misuse mailing lists for unauthorized purposes. The MRC is lying by claiming otherwise.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:02 AM EDT

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